It takes an ingenious artist and visionary to take a timeless classic musical production and reinvent it for modern times while retaining all that was great about the original Broadway performance.
Enter Daniel C. Levine.
Levine’s brilliant choice of an abandoned church as the setting served as a mesmerizing and thought-provoking backdrop for the modernized interpretation of Stephen Schwartz’s GODSPELL.
Upon entering Ridgefield’s Equity theater, the audience sets their eyes upon the church, authentic and easily imagined as a once architectural masterpiece in New York City. We quickly learn the church is occupied by homeless, but seemingly happy and innocent, children. When a group of money-hungry adults storm into the church (from the aisles) and begin squabbling about its ultimate demise, they wreak havoc on the children’s playfulness.
The audience experiences a dramatic collision of two societies, one loving and the other fighting, accentuated by the stage flowing from dark and dreary to wonderful and colorful. The actors bring the parables to life and immerse the audience in a spiritual awakening throughout the two-hour performance. Levine’s use of dusty items left behind in the church combined with these powerful performances make for a truly dynamic theatrical presentation.
Ranging in age from 7 to 14, the young performers who hail from Danbury, Trumbull, Ridgefield, and Westchester, not only add an element of whimsy to the performance through song, dance, and expression, but they are constant reminders of Matthew’s gospel, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The adult performers turn their hearts and minds toward Jesus, magnificently played by Trent Saunders, as each parable unfolds. Levine’s multi-faceted storytelling approach by way of imagery and acting is a sight to behold.
Sprinkled with some pop culture references (no spoilers here), the new GODSPELL will make you laugh, think, and reflect on your own humanity that that of the world.
Levine, the co-founder and Artistic Director at ACT of Connecticut, found inspiration for this unique concept of GODSPELL in April, 2019 after seeing images of Paris’ famed Notre Dame Cathedral burning. He shared his vision for GODSPELL with Schwartz, who serves as an Artistic Advisor for the Theater. Schwartz gave Levine permission to make changes to his classic musical, including removing one of its songs entirely. Levine is co-founder of ACT of Connecticut together with Katie Diamond, Executive Director, and Bryan Perri, Resident Music Supervisor.
Levine’s Broadway and Broadway National Tours credits include MAMMA MIA!, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Tony Nomination For Best Revival), CHICAGO, LES MISERABLES, and TOMMY.
Performances of GODSPELL run through March 8th. The showtimes are: Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Purchase tickets HERE.
For more information about ACT of CT, ticket and annual subscription sales, education programs, sponsor/donor opportunities, and other theatre-related news and announcements, visit www.actofct.org