Hinsdale South brings ‘Godspell’ into 21st century
Tito Ponce belts out a line as Hinsdale South High School rehearses for the musical "Godspell." | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Where: Hinsdale South auditorium, 7401 S. Clarendon Hills Road, Darien
When: 7:30 p.m. March 14-16
Updated: April 30, 2013 3:49PM
DARIEN — This isn’t your parents’ “Godspell.”
Hinsdale South puts a modern spin on the 1970s musical, with pop culture references that bring the musical’s timeless tales from the Bible into modern day.
“They give you the option to improv,” said director Pamn Baker.
And she has, adding some rap, a little tap dancing, and characters who, like the actors in this production, weren’t even born when “Godspell” made its debut in 1971.
Freshman Jimmy Ladd channels Napoleon Dynamite and “South Park” character Eric Cartman, among others, in his performance. He even briefly dons a zebra-print Snuggie.
This high-energy show has a healthy dose of humor and is full of color, from the brighty-hued costumes to the technicolor set. Like the original, this revival version of “Godspell” tells stories from the Bible. But rather than outwardly religious, the show’s message is universally human, said cast member Emily Barham.
“It gives a sense of community,” Barham, a junior, said.
As Robin, Barham takes the lead in singing the show’s most popular song, “Day By Day.” It’s one of many tunes that older audience members will recognize and younger ones will enjoy.
“I really love it. I love the music,” Barham said.
Unlike many musicals, this one doesn’t have a pit orchestra. Instead, a rock band made up of South students will perform on stage.
“It is a rock musical,” Baker said.
Baker said the fact that the entire cast of 50 appears in almost every scene is demanding on both cast and crew. The production requires many solo voices, some of which will be making their stage debut in the show.
Senior Tito Ponce found a new talent of his own as he prepared for his role as Judas, among others. Along with singing and acting, Ponce discovered he also has a way with voices.
“I feel a little schizophrenic,” he said of the handful of accents and vocal styles he uses in the show.
Ponce said he’s enjoyed the nine weeks he and the cast and crew have spent putting together his final musical at South, and he hopes the audience finds it just as enjoyable.
“It’s so much fun,” he said.