Story: An urban locale is used to bring Jesus, John the Baptist and others into a modern setting much like Stephen Schwartz’s and John-Michael Tebelak’s Godspell. As with that musical, it uses parables and stories from the New Testament to emphasize the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and their continued relevance in contemporary society.
Highlights: TLT Productions augmented its ‘inaugural’ season with a spirited and well-received presentation showcasing efforts of its youthful cast and creative team.
Other Info: According to a news release, TLT Productions is the creation of the artistic collaboration between musical artist Tre’von Griffith, also known as TreG, and playwright Lauron Thompson. Since 2008 the duo has created several shows and was “excited to bring to life the re-telling of the ultimate love story.”
Something Like…Godspell is described as a “soulful musical on friendship, loyalty and love based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew.” The show includes original music composed by Griffith and lyrics by Thompson, both of whom also collaborated on the book.
Last Saturday’s full house both surprised and delighted Griffith, as he referenced in welcoming the audience. TreG was also part of the four-piece band that accompanied the performance, including Griffith on keyboards, Demetri Payton on bass, drummer Keenan Wilson and Dishawn Payton on aux.
Carvas Pickens lent his smooth voice to the dual roles of John the Baptist and Judas, welcoming everyone on the Prepare the Way number near the start of the show. David Dwight IV brought amiability and patience to the role of Jesus, leading the troupe on the tune Save Us in the first act.
Others in the cast included Alex Jay, Golliday, Erika Griffin, MarQuis Murphy, Anthony Randle, Dre Williams and Kim Parson. All joined in the comic camaraderie, taking turns playing out the parables of wisdom Jesus spoke to guide their characters in how to live by the Golden Rule, and also demonstrated their voices and dance moves as well.
Cameron Tesson’s scenic design allowed easy access for the players to move around and interpret various numbers, while Nathan Schroeder’s lighting enhanced the presentation.
Founded in 2009, TLT Productions specializes in original theater and music, according to program notes. The enthusiastic reception of last Saturday’s full house indicates there is a market happy to welcome TLT Productions to the thriving St. Louis theater scene.
Musical: Something Like…Godspell
Company: TLT Productions
Venue: Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
Dates: Run concluded
Photo courtesy of Phillip Hamer