PCP OPENED THEIR FIRST SHOW IN 1986 WITH GODSPELL,
30 YEARS LATER THE CLASSIC IS REMOUNTED
The classic 45 year old GODSPELL opens the 30th season of the Pinole Community Players. On stage at the PC Playhouse through February 13th. This latest production (which is based on 2012 Broadway revival) is a celebration of 30 years of community theater in Pinole. The director, G.A. Klein, was a member of the 10th Anniversary cast and is thrilled to carry on with the tradition of live theater in the city of Pinole. GODSPELL was the first production ever presented by PCP back in 1986. That production was directed by David Clark, and his team Nancy Gill, Gary Gill, and Patti Clark. These four founded the company. Ten years later in 96 the PCP did a 10th Anniversary production with some of the same cast and production team.
With original music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz who went on to write Pippin and Wicked, the production opened off Broadway in 1971 where it ran for a miraculous 2000 performances, and has become a staple of college, high school and community theatre as well as numerous professional mountings including the most recent 2012 broadway revival. Forty-five years of “Day by Day” has become a fixture of biblical inspired musicals. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, the show is a mixture of Scripture parables as told by Jesus loosely tied together with songs and dance. The disappointing news with this third remount of PCP’s GODSPELL is an unfortunate setback.
Director Clark was hapless with this production of the musical, mainly due to miscasting. Music Director Matt Smart had some adequate talent to work with, the company's sound as a chorus are pleasant. Anjee Norgaard-Gallia choreography was mostly marching, a clumsy spirited attempt. Ted V. Bigornia as John the Baptist opens the musical with “Prepare Ye” he has one of the strongest voices in this cast, later he plays Judas and his passion is lost. Isaac Daley is poorly cast as Jesus and never really brings much to his role.
“Turn Back, O Man” featured local favorite Pam Drummer-Williams and she proves her powerhouse voice and energy is the highlight with this company. Williams is a bright moment in the show along with Perry Aliado spirited “We Beseech Thee”. The iconic “Day by Day” was a mishap sang by Bobby Barlow and the company. Abby Colyer Nance costumes brighten the look of the show, the standard cheerleader, hippie, clown and ballet dancer attire on a single set with a San Francisco backdrop. The stage included some chain link fences with a set designed by Fernando Ochoa, that had more potential, that was never used. With a closer look you can see a touch of the original summer of love. “Alas for You” one of Jesus’ main songs from Schwartz book, was one of the many poor moments during the two hour performance. Dayley looked great in his costume but he could not handle the role or songs. Matt Smarts four piece band is on cue and one of the better parts of the evening. Greg Wilson's light design avoided follow spots, and his color tones worked well on the open set with Vicki Zabarte first rate props.
The bright point of this winter opening for PCP, is the fact they have had 30 proud years in the community producing family theatre and the city of Pinole truly supports this company. Director Klein, said “I believe that this is what puts “community” in community theatre, and community is truly is what is at the heart of this musical”. This Godspell is honest, but the most crucial element, the heart and soul is missing. The musical continues to have a timeless message of love and this cast brings a more mix matched feel of a summer teen camp production with adults. Yet, I congratulate PCP for 30 years of community theatre in the city of Pinole.
PINOLE COMMUNITY PLAYERS
By JOHN-MICHAEL TEBELAK
MUSIC AND NEW LYRICS BY STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
Directed by G.A. Klein, Music Director Matt Smart,
Choreography by Anjee Norgaard-Gallia
Located at the Community Playhouse, 601 Tennent Ave., Pinole, CA 94564
Runs 2 hours
Tickets at www.pinoleplayers.org.
or call our Box Office: 510-724-9844
$23 General, $20 Students/Seniors (62+). Accept Visa and Mastercard ($3 handling fee).
Photo’s By Dominick Ojeda.