I put a spell on you: The ‘Godspell’ experience in Manila

Many moons ago, Young STAR bagged an exclusive interview with Hannah Montana’s Anna Maria Perez de Tagle who was then starring in a bombastic revival of Godspell in the Big Apple. Alongside Weeds star Hunter Parrish and then-unknown Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black, we roared excitedly about the performances and the process of putting the show together, having been blown away by the tenacity and sheer inventiveness of it. Picture this: theater-in-the-round, a makeshift bar onstage during intermission, and improv. What more could a theaterati ask for?

We knew full well that the musical, which takes a romp through the parables of the Gospel of Matthew, was written by Stephen Schwartz. You will remember that he was in Manila recently for the opening of, y’know, his other li’l musical called Wicked. But more than the re-orchestrations of hits like Day By Day, Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord and All For The Best, it was really the ensemble work that did it, under the creative vision and direction of Daniel Goldstein.

Imagine the thrill of being able to experience Godspell in Manila, this time with a brave new concept by director and theater provocateur Dr. Anton Juan, as well an all-Filipino cast headlined by the likes of Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, Topper Fabregas and The Voice’s Poppert Bernadas. With license to transform the play to reflect society’s most intimate sensibilities, director Juan is taking a “world theater” approach to the production — the play is both global and local at the same time. Expect fireworks, unconventional storytelling techniques, improv and boundless creativity. Laughs here, tears there and, possibly, a chilling end to the festivities that will make you reflect on the ties that bind after the divisiveness of the previous elections, as Filipinos, as God’s children, and as citizens of the world.

Godspell will run from June 17 to 26 (Friday to Sunday) at the RCBC Theater. For tickets, call Ticketworld at 891-9999.

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