written by stephen schwartz and john-michael tebelak
The creation, growth, and survival of a joyous community of love.
About Our Production
Under Philip Riddick’s direction, our production of Godspell is framed in a modern coffee shop in a gentrified neighborhood. Jesus was intentionally cast as a black woman, actor Elizabeth Howard. Judas functions as the coffee shop’s barista, intentionally cast as a white man. The rest of the cast are disconnected coffee shop goers searching for meaning, purpose, and connection. They become revitalized by the arrival of the charismatic and kind Jesus. The once fragmented bunch of strangers slowly transform to a unified group based in faith, hope, and love. With Jesus as the selfless leader, teaching them through exciting songs and parables, they establish their community to be one that recognizes the value in themselves and each other. But, driven by fear and distrust, Judas, the betrayer, calls the police on Jesus. This direction was inspired by reality— particularly instances of police called on black people unnecessarily by neighbors/baristas/strangers and instances of brutal, deadly, unjust police violence toward black people. Once the police arrive, Jesus is unjustly shot. And yet, because Jesus integrated such selfless, unconditional love into the community, the community survives and will continue to grow even without its founder and initial leader.
Directed by Philip Riddick
Music Directed by Philip Riddick
Choreographed by Dikenna Ogbo
Assistant Directed by Ruthie Allen
Costume Designed by Ruthie Allen and George Chaprastian
Lights Designed by Anna Blythe
Props Designed by Alyssa Applegate
Produced by Tegan Sullivan and Hannah James
Stage Managed by Cameren Lofton