• May 28, 2020

Take a rest from the world - Odessa American: Local News

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Take a rest from the world

‘Godspell’ offers respite from troubles

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  • 'All for the Best'

    Matt Rist sings "All for the Best." The Permian Playhouse is in production for Godspell, opening on October 11th and running through through the 20th.

  • 'All for the Best'

    Matt Rist as Judas sings "All for the Best" while the cast looks on. The Permian Playhouse production of "Godspell" opens tonight and runs through through the Oct. 20th.

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 4:00 am

Cars pass on a windy West Texas morning. The mint green building along 42nd street has probably caught your eye, but maybe you don’t know what it is or what happens inside. Since 1965, the Permian Playhouse has been a quiet beacon of the arts in a dusty oil town, producing quality community theater in Odessa. It’s been called one of the best kept secrets.

Each night, about a dozen people make their way to the Playhouse. Kevin drives an hour from Pecos. Trey’s parents drop him off from Midland night after night. At 13, he’s too young for a driver’s license. Sara slips away from her day job and role as Mom to join in on the fun. You get the idea. There is no typecast when it comes to community theater.

“Can you play music measure 59 again?”

Not everyone is a professionally trained musician. It takes work to learn and perform a musical like the upcoming Godspell, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (and based on the Book of Matthew). But there is one thing the cast of the Playhouse’s upcoming musical has in common — each actor is a gifted singer.

Those gifts shine even in rehearsal. Like when Daniella, a student and opera singer, sang “Bless the Lord” for the first time. A few catcalls, snapping fingers and cheers later — she’s right at home rocking out the soulful ballad to Jesus.

Volunteers are fine-tuning audio and designing lighting that is right for each scene and mood—painstaking tasks that take days to perfect. A costumer is putting the finishing touches on each outfit— putting in pops of color against an urban re-imagining of the Last Supper’s traditional table setting.

And then there’s Jesus. A Midland native who studied musical theater in college. He’s got by far the biggest challenge of the show — after all, who else could tell the parables and get his new disciples in line? Not to mention living up to each person’s unique perspective on who Jesus was — is to them.

“I love the tenderness you’re finding in Jesus.”

When Brady settles into a bright-suspender-wearing Jesus, the audience will fall in love with his warm charm and surprising whit. The cast of his 9 disciples certainly has.

When tragedy struck outside the Playhouse walls in the middle of rehearsals, it brought new meaning to the stories being told. The lessons of the Bible are needed now more than ever. So, too, is art needed as our community heals.

Godspell is set to open on Oct. It means every day until then, the lights will be on at the Permian Playhouse. Slow down, stop by, and join us for an evening as we take you inside and let you in on the secrets of the Playhouse. You and your kids will enjoy the brief reprieve from the world outside.

Odessa, TX

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