SkyVault players to present 'Godspell'

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The Minnesota Sky Vault Theatre Company rehearses a scene from Godspell Monday for the upcoming production at the Words Players Theatre.

SkyVault Theatre Company is reaching back to the storied past — the 1970s — when it seemed everything old could be new again.

In this case, it was the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which became the basis for the hit musical "Godspell."SkyVault will present "Godspell" Nov. 7-8 and Nov. 14-15 at Words Players Theatre in Rochester.

"The counter-culture and the central Christian world kind of met in 'Godspell,'" said Daved Driscoll, who is directing the show. "That was the surprise: that Jesus himself was counter-culture."

But has "Godspell" aged well, or is it a relic of a particular time period?.

"I'm surprised at how well it has aged," Driscoll said. So much of what seemed far out in 1970 is in many ways now mainstream.


"We're doing everything in our power to make it still seem counter-cultural," Driscoll said. "That's part of what resonated."

The best-known song from "Godspell" is "Day by Day," the original cast recording of which became a top 20 hit in 1972.

SkyVault, an offshoot of Words Players, consists of experienced actors who have extensive theatrical training and varied skills. The troupe was selected as the best new act recently at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

"Godspell," which is a musical, plays to SkyVault's strengths,Driscoll said. "Acting and playing their instruments at the same time, that's kind of our trademark," he said. "They're used to singing, playing and running around."

In this case, some of that will take place in the audience — another SkyVault habit. The audience, by the way, will be expected to help build the set before the show officially begins. "We're going to put them to work,"Driscoll said. "You're going to be part of the stagehands with us."

"Godspell" is being developed with the idea that it will be toured next year, Driscoll said. Dates and cities will be announced at a later date.

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