Broadway will make its way to Binghamton University this weekend as the Hinman Production Company (HPC) presents its musical for the semester, “Godspell.” Filled with references to pop culture icons like Donald Trump and Lindsay Lohan, “Godspell” isn’t the poppy extravaganza that it seems to be at first glance; instead, it’s a musical that presents biblical parables to the audience through song.
“Godspell” opens on a serious note, featuring quotes from Thomas Aquinas and Galileo before taking a playful turn. For HPC’s rendition, the musical appeals by way of its hidden surprises. One notable moment comes when cast members borrow drumsticks from the pit orchestra, yell, “Occupy Hinman” and use sign language. Another scene features a cast member walking toward the exit before being called back to the stage by the cast — he claims that he forgot his glasses.
“I think it’s kind of relatable, because everybody’s like, ‘They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re just kind of running around being silly,’” said Abby Mulligan, who plays Jesus in the show and is a junior majoring in political science.
Though the play does not have a typical plot arc, it focuses on examining the relationships among people and exploring kindness as a form of social responsibility.
“The core message of everything in ‘Godspell’ is just to be better to your fellow man,” said Jordan Hand, who plays Judas in the show and is a sophomore double-majoring in theatre and economics. “I think we live in a society right now where there is a lot of hate. Not necessarily on purpose, it’s just kind of the culture we live in.”
According to Hand, the themes of the play will appeal to everyone, no matter their religious affiliation.
“It’s not about going to church, or about what you can and can’t say or what side of an issue to be on,” Hand said. “It’s about the very essence of religion in general, which is to be good to one another and make the world a better place.”
“Godspell” is a challenging show to produce because many of the characters play untitled roles and are only known by their costumes and songs. However, HPC put together an excellent cast and it is fun to see the members play off of each other, through both creative choreography and singing. The best parts of the show are the ensemble musical numbers, particularly “We Beseech Thee” in the second act, as the audience is truly brought in for part of the musical and the cast.
While a play with such religious undertones may seem polarizing at first, “Godspell” brings its lessons back to Earth, hitting at the core of what it means to be human. For those searching for meaning and guidance, or just searching for new songs to add to their playlists, “Godspell” is an unusually perfect fit.
Performances of “Godspell,” all of which are in the Hinman Commons, are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.