Having finally "discovered" the rock musical "Godspell" in 2008, Vanguard University has rediscovered it, this time as a production of the college's summer professional arm, the American Coast Theater Co.
Vanda Eggington, who directed the earlier version, returns to helm this one. She again uses a theater warehouse with props from past shows as a backdrop and brings the dialogue into the 21st century with the 1970s-flavored songs of creators Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, including the hit single "Day By Day."
Eggington also choreographs the ACTC rendition, this time blessed with the talents of some advanced artists, including recent Vanguard graduates. The result is a stronger, more intricate retelling of Jesus' life, teachings, death and resurrection.
The centerpiece of any "Godspell" is its Jesus, and Ryan Miller fills this role extraordinarily, gleefully going with the flow of comedy in the first act before turning tragically serious in the second. It's an exhausting performance by one of Vanguard's most impressive alumni.