Godspell opens at Players Circle Theater

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Players Circle Theater is ready to raise the roof with their largest production to date, Godspell, running now through May 12. 

Chock full of hit rock songs, topical humor, and irresistible goodwill, Godspell spreads the power of love by modernizing a series of parables from the Gospel of Saint Matthew by using a wide variety of pop culture references, games, and fun audience interaction. 

Players Circle’s production has set out to bring new life to this familiar favorite.

“You may think you know Godspell, but I assure you… you’ve never seen it quite like this,” cheers Players Circle’s associate artistic director Ted Wioncek III, who directs the musical for the third time. “Our production is incredibly unique and highly immersive, as we break down the barriers of conventional theater and invite the audience to become a part of the action.”

In addition to breaking the fourth wall, Players Circle’s version features an all-star cast of ten performers, each of whom play their own musical instruments throughout, highlighting an eclectic blend of musical stylings from pop to vaudeville. 

“In the original, Jesus bestows the cast with clown makeup to symbolize their free spirit and inner child. In our version, we use musical instruments, allowing music to play an even greater role in our creative storytelling. One by one, the cast learns how to use their gifts to spread the word as they join together to make a joyful noise,” continues Wioncek.

Godspell features a cast of professionals hailing from near and far, including Matthew Camardo (New Jersey), Shane Dinan (North Carolina), Ruthgena Faraco (Cape Coral), Whitney Grace (Punta Gorda) Rachael Lord (Fort Myers), AJ Mendini (Fort Myers), Caleb Pless (Tennessee), Darby Pumphrey (Philadelphia), Amanda Ross (New York), and Kimberly Suskind (Fort Myers).

Godspell made its New York debut in 1971, composed by the acclaimed Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Wicked) with a book John-Michael Tebelak. The musical was an instant hit, running over 2,600 performances in NYC before it was adapted into a successful Hollywood Film in 1973. The film soundtrack garnered a Grammy Award and the musical’s anthem, “Day by Day” spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Godspell would go on to launch the careers of Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Victor Garber, Eugene Levy, and more.

Artistic director Robert Cacioppo adds, “Godspell is vibrant, fresh, and always relevant. The energy and excitement of this high-spirited production will engage audiences of all generations.”

Wioncek is joined by an expert team of designers: Choreography by Kimberly Suskind (Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show, The Cocktail Hour). Music direction by Ricky Pope (Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change). Set design by Steven McLean (Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, Proof, Butterflies Are Free, Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show, Breaking Legs, The Foreigner). Lighting design by Will Gibbons Brown. Sound Design by Andrew Zebroski (Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, Proof, Butterflies Are Free, Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show, Breaking Legs). Costume design by Sallyanne Bianchetta (Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, Proof, Butterflies Are Free, Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show). Stage Management by Parker Slaybaugh (Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, Proof).

Wioncek concluded, “We live in an age of constant contact, yet we are more disconnected than ever. We yearn for a sense of belonging… a true community. And that’s precisely what our production of Godspell will provide. In just two hours you will be cast under its spell and carry it with you long after you leave the theater. It’s more than a show… more than a production… it’s an experience!”

Godspell plays at Players Circle April 19 – May 12, with discounted previews on April 16, 17 and 18. Performances are held Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, and select Saturdays at 3 pm. 

Tickets range from $35 – $55. This production is staged in the round. Details regarding subscription packages are available at PlayersCircleTheater.com or by calling the Box Office at 239-800-3292.

Godspell will mark the sixth production at Players Circle’s new home at 13211 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

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