Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, the Stowe Theatre Guild has overcome a devastating fire to open the 2019 season with its production of “Godspell.”
In early April, a fire destroyed the Stoware Common building, which displaced half a dozen businesses and destroyed an extensive collection of costumes, sets and props stored there by the Stowe Theatre Guild.
The fire came two months before the theater company was scheduled to raise the curtain on “Godspell,” the first of four productions scheduled for the 2019 season.
“The fire was certainly devastating, but this isn’t the first setback the Stowe Theatre Guild has experienced, and like we have in the past, we’re still going to put on a show,” Glenn Brown, president of the guild, said at the time.
However, on June 12 — just before the curtain fell for the opening night of “Godspell” and the season — Brown shared some good news with audience members and patrons who support the Stowe Theatre Guild, year in and year out.
Brown said the guild had raised $17,035 in donations to pay for new sets and props; on top of that, the Springer-Miller Family Foundation pledged to match all donations up to $10,000, bringing the total amount raised to more than $27,000.
“If not for you, we would not be able to replace what we have lost,” Brown told the audience.
Under the guiding hand of director Alison Norcross, the 10-member cast of “Godspell” shined, whether singing, dancing, emoting or engaging in side-splitting slapstick to illustrate the parables of Jesus Christ.
Choreographer Stacey Benoit kept the cast moving and utilizing all of the stage, from ensemble song-and-dance numbers to solos sung from high atop a pair of risers on either side.
Of course, there would be no song or dance without musical director Dana LaClair, who led a four-piece band that played just behind the performers. Without offering any spoilers, it is fair to says that there are musical references to everything from recent top-40 hits to the theme song to a beloved classic video game.
As for the performers themselves, George Sullivan evoked the benevolence and pathos of Jesus, while Brian Watson held down the double-duty of John the Baptist and Judas. Tara Blueter’s voice was stunning as she led the cast in the song “Day by Day.”
Also, special points to Jacob Normandy for his lip-synching abilities. Rounding out the cast are Will Bigglestone, Shannon Brodie, Kira Johnson, Xander Landen, Anna Mazer and Kayla Tornello.
The 2019 season will continue with “The Diary of Anne Frank” July 17 to Aug. 3; “Mamma Mia!” Aug. 21 to Sept. 7; and “A Few Good Men” Sept. 25-Oct. 12.
Looking to the 2020 season, the guild is seeking directors, musical directors and choreographers for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Murder,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Bullets Over Broadway” and “A Little Night Music.” Application forms are available at stowetheatre.com.
“Godspell” runs Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. until June 29. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and $14 for children age 12 and younger, and are available at stowetheatre.com.