August 3, 2006

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A Jesus musical, reworked
Teen Actorsingers promise a burnt car but no clowns in the “new” Godspell
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Brandon Mallard admits that this summer’s musical selection was not well received by his adolescent actors.

“They expected it to be like the old Godspell” which every school, church and community group has done, Mallard said. But they changed their minds. “It’s a very different Godspell than people are used to.”

Teen Actorsingers, who Mallard also directed in Fame last summer, are using new orchestration by Alex Lacamoire from the 2001 national revival tour and 2000 off-Broadway revival.

It’s updated with techno and rock sounds, a “very Rent-ish, urban feeling,” Mallard said. And no, bless the Lord, there are no clowns or hippies.

“Each of the songs has a very distinct decade feel,” Mallard said. “Day by Day” sounds “90s Lilith Fair” and “Bless the Lord My Soul” is “60s mod,” he said.

For their post-apocalyptic set the company “built a complete city and then destroyed it,” Mallard said. The sound of a bomb opens the performance, and a billboard with digital projections and a burnt car complete the stage effects.

“It will be a nice bonding experience for the cast,” Mallard said about the scheduled car-burning. Perhaps it rounds out the beach party and Canobie Lake trip producer Howard Levine mentioned.

Jesus is crucified on a cross made from TVs instead of a fence. Mallard pulled that concept from the revival’s set, a wall of TVs. The cast comes out in “fierce” urban wear before changing into decade-appropriate costumes when the old version had the cast putting on clown make-up.

“The show focuses on building of community and rebuilding of community,” and points out “the corruption of modern society,” Mallard said. It’s heavy on symbolism. Characters appear as American Idols or Harry Potter as the play tries to show “loss of spirituality and religion to modern-day media.”

Levine acknowledged that there are great teen companies in the area but Actorsingers get edgy.

“Sometimes some of the older folks shudder a bit,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll be the first ones to do Rent when it comes out.”

Mallard, who’s also behind Caberet de Boheme, is only 23.

“To me acting is all about being vulnerable and feeling emotion,” he said. Youth are more willing to be vulnerable, but don’t have a depth of emotional experience to draw on. “A lot of times the most intense experience is that they failed that test, or a friend talked about them behind their back,” he said. But working with adults or teens, “I’m a teacher first, I love helping them grow.”

“You won’t believe the time and effort they are putting into this,” Levine gushed.

More than 60 kids auditioned, and the 24-member cast hails from Nashua, New Boston, Hollis, Hampstead and Manchester. They’ve rehearsed four nights per week for two months, to accommodate vacation schedules. However, they perform only one weekend this summer rather than two because the Amato Center seats more than their usual 14 Court St. Theatre in Nashua.

Clown free
The “new” Godspell presented by Teen Actorsingers of Nashua runs Friday, Aug. 11, through Saturday, Aug. 12, at 8 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at the Amato Center in Milford. Tickets are $10; call 320-1870. Directed by Brandon Mallard, choreographer by Bethany Cassidy, music direction by Jeffrey Prescott


07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palace’s Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad it’s over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
It’s cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesn’t lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxi’s driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Players’ Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid
Plaid (II)
Playing with man’s best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace
Tosca

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to ‘night Mother