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"Godspell" has enduring appeal for a show on the wrong side of forty, originally conceived as a master’s thesis. A key aspect of that appeal is surely the flexibility of the concept itself, which allows companies to make each production personal. In the Marriott Theatre production, director/choreographer Matt Raftery has crafted an energetic, likable version of the show that never shows its age.

In the press for the production, Raftery noted that the rehearsal process began not with readings and scene breakdowns, but with handing the cast paints, brushes, and other arts and crafts materials to build the show’s world. The end result is a playful, colorful park (set design officially created by Tom Ryan, but collaboratively built by the cast throughout the course of the show) enclosing the audience and making great use of Marriott’s theater-in-the-round space.

Chain link fences rise behind each section of seats. These are brightened with plywood graffiti art in neon colors and designs created by pushing colored solo cups through the fences themselves. The stage comprises three low, wide platforms that serve as storage for props and arts and crafts materials. Above, angular tree branches and oversized leaf cutouts suggest a child’s mobile, to which the cast adds hula hoops and paintings on transparent plexiglass.

Erin Wuorenma’s bright playful costume design complements the set well. The actors playing Jesus and John the Baptist/Judas have relatively subdued ensembles, but the colorful layers and unusual pairings found in the company members’ costumes manage to evoke the ’70s without ever feeling dated.

The show demands tight pacing and high energy if it is not to devolve into preachy, simplistic set pieces. Raftery clearly worked the cast hard to achieve that (ably supported by Jesse Klug’s lighting design), and the first act, certainly, is seamless from the very first number, a prologue with the whole group beatboxing to support a cappella "monologues" by each individual in turn. The company peppers their scenes with contemporary pop culture references and wry nods to ubiquitous social media. They listen and play off one another with all the polish and skill of a very good improv troop.

...The cast of ten here positively brims with talent. There isn’t a weak singer, actor, or dancer among them, and it’s a singular pleasure to watch them come together as an ensemble. As Jesus, Brian Bohr is topped up with cheer and positivity that never spills over into creepy cult leader. As John the Baptist/Judas, Devin DeSantis quietly pursues a more subdued emotional arc that pays off in the second act as well.