by Amelia Anderson
Reach for the sky! A magic spell was cast upon our town of Sunland-Tujunga and burst forth in a hometown rendition of GODSPELL. The celebrated Broadway musical — replete with a pop-rock score composed by Stephen Schwartz of “Wicked” and “Pippin” fame — was recently staged at New Hope Community Church in Sunland.
Drawn from the Book of Matthew, the parables and lessons of Jesus were performed by a talented cast from local colleges and high schools employing sketch-comedy and story theater punctuated by distinctive vocal performances. With their youthful energy and supported by superb direction and a live rockin’ band, they performed songs such as the Grammy-nominated “Day by Day” and raised the roof of expectation.
Kudos to this production brought to us by The Foothills Performing Arts Council in association with New Hope Tapestry Arts — apropos of bringing “new hope” for rise of the arts in our town.
This quality of theatrical accomplishment in SunlandTujunga is against all odds, a community just decades ago tagged as the “meth capitol” of Southern California, a motorcycle-club-filled, culturally impoverished wasteland. By providing an outlet for local talent, this type of endeavor helps to ensure our youth side-step the aimlessness and pitfalls of drugs.
The selection of GODSPELL by director Timothy Jon Borquez depicting biblical stories (that he set within the inner sanctuary of New Hope Church) attests to the thirst for revival of deeper thought within our community. An ascetic Cody Williams as Jesus protects an adulterous woman from stoning: “Cast ye not the first stone unless your heart is free from sin.” All hands lower as he bids her sin no more.
We, as a culture, also need to face our transgressions and support more opportunity for youth and the arts as well as greater respect and a return to the church.