Need better-behaved kids? ‘Godspell’ may be just the ticket

Where: 1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

If you go

Provision Theater Company
1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago

(866) 811-4111
www.provisiontheater.org

Performance schedule: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays () and 3
p.m. Sundays () through Sept. 26.

Details: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays ($28) and 3 p.m. Sundays ($25) through Sept. 26.

At a glance: “Godspell” is a rockin’ way for kids to hear all those tired, “be good” lines you’ve been yelling all summer – but in a fun, hyper-energetic musical they won’t tune out.

Kids will love: During the intermission, the cast invited the audience onstage for free kool-aid.

Parents will love: The message of kindness and respect for others told through rock and roll.

Good for: The whole family


A long, hot August, when kids are cooped up together and the heat is making everybody a little cranky, is a perfect time for a refresher in the “love your brother as yourself” lessons.

Provision Theater’s production of “Godspell” is a rockin’ way for kids to hear all those tired, “be good” lines you’ve been yelling all summer – but in a fun, hyper-energetic musical they won’t tune out.

If you haven’t been there before, Provision is a huge change from the jam-packed Broadway in Chicago shows downtown. Located on the edge of the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, the theater seats less than 200 people. Its casual approach to theater – our tickets were actually handwritten on index cards – belies the depth of talent you’ll see onstage.

When Syler Thomas as Jesus or any of the other cast members sang, their voices washed away any theater snobbishness I might have been feeling toward Provision. Cast members frequently sang in the aisles, something my daughter loved, engaging everyone around them in the production. Audience members found themselves draped with scarves or occasionally with a cast member across their lap as the young actors sought to make everyone part of the show. The 12 cast members did everything, playing parts interchangeably while moving the set around as they performed. The curtain never closed-I’m not sure there even was a curtain – so equipment changes were built right into the production.

Even young children will enjoy this show, which portrays the gospel of Matthew, including Jesus’ crucifixion (nothing gruesome is portrayed -although Jesus does die onstage, the final scene is actually very uplifting). Throughout the show, messages such as turning away from violence and loving your neighbor as yourself are portrayed in skits within the show in a way even younger children can understand. Plus there are plenty of jokes only grownups will enjoy (there’s even an aside about a poor person who can’t pay their debt because they didn’t get their stimulus check yet), but absolutely nothing that’s inappropriate for kids. I’d recommend this show for the whole family.

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