Players recent musical Godspell was a hit!

You step into LM’s Blackbox Theater and are immediately transported into a ragtag circus tent. Red and white striped curtains line the walls, and a ringleader’s circle is painted on the floor. A voice booms over the speaker, and you are welcomed into a Players production of their first
musical in two years. Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell, directed by Kit Schlaak ’22 and Mandy Donahoe ’23, ran from April 28 to May 1. The show was a smashing success, and the third and final in a series of blackbox shows produced by Players this year (outside The Mousetrap alongside The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe). 

Due to COVID-19, Players was unable to perform their musical on the main stage as usual but instead set up a live broadcast of the Blackbox theater production that was streamed into the auditorium. Importantly the  “overflow seating” model allowed a wider audience to appreciate the show while adhering  to pandemic protocols. Putting on a musical allowed Players to return to a sense of normalcy despite having to work with a much smaller stage.

Godspell was Players first musical since the pandemic began | Photo courtesy of (LMSD Newsroom)

Obviously, the Blackbox is not the typical setting for a Players musical, as there is a need to incorporate live musicians and much more elaborate sound systems. To adapt the Blackbox into a stage fit for a musical, the closet was converted into a “pit” for a live orchestra to perform. The show orchestra provided backing to a cast of thirteen vocalists, playing Jesus, Judas/John the Baptist, and eleven apostles. Jesus (Will Pickering ’22) led the cast through a series of songs and parables, with John The Baptist (played by Julia Sobel ’22) joining in the first act. The apostles were played by Ani Annapragada ’22, Kal Hachadoorian ’23, Gabriel Robinson ’23, Katharine Worth ’24, Cid Miller ’24, Gwen O’Bannon ’25, Liam Cox ’25, Emilia Feaster ’25, Erin Fox’25, M. Borden ’25, and Addison Garner ’23. Garner’s role was played in later shows by the production’s choreographer, Abigail Parks ’23. 

The cast was adorned in the costumes of various circus members, including clowns, trapeze artists, lion tamers, and acrobats, with Sobel and Pickering as the ringleaders. Each show ran for a little under two hours and culminated in a stunning and fiery finale, and four standing ovations. Even with facing the challenges of the pandemic, Players is glad to have ended the year with a bang and can’t wait for what next year’s show season brings!

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