Dominic Pangborn art featured in innovative “Godspell” production
The production will be held on March 11, 25, 26 at 8 p.m. and March 13 at 2 p.m. at the Michigan Theatre in Jackson, Michigan.
“Godspell” is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. The musical is based on the Gospel of Matthew from the Bible, which stresses the teachings and acts of Jesus though a series of parables. These stories are presented in “Godspell” with a blend of modern music and traditional hymn lyrics.
Pangborn, assistant and technical director Gary Minix of The 4th Wall and cast members spoke about the upcoming show in an interview on The Bart Hawley Show.
“Parables really were the theater of that age, that was the popular form of entertainment of that age and that is how Jesus taught, so…they use this particular device to accomplish the same thing,” Minix said in the interview.
Pangborn says “Godspell” is one of the most interesting productions he has enjoyed throughout the years, so he was immediately intrigued when speaking with Minix and his wife about The 4th Wall’s rendition of it. He admits he would’ve liked to have been on stage as an actor, but instead, Pangborn was asked about using his art in the production.
At first Pangborn was hesitant as to how it would work, but when he visited and saw his works projected onto a 50-foot screen as the production’s backdrop, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I was sitting right in the center of the theater as they projected it, and personally I was blown away by it,” he said in the interview. “I was like ‘Wow, why didn’t somebody think of this before?’”
Minix says “Godspell” is typically performed with a sparse or blank backdrop. To his knowledge, this will be the first time it will feature projected artwork as the background.
“We’re very blessed to be able to utilize this and provide the people of Jackson something that literally has never been seen before,” Minix said in the interview. “’Godspell’ has never been done in this manner.”
Pangborn’s art is a perfect fit for the production. Within the past seven years, the evolutionary artist has incorporated spiritual themes in his artwork, such as the Virgin Mary or crucifixion imagery. Minix said the more he looked at the art, the more it made sense to use it.
The production has a significant meaning to Pangborn beyond its use of his artwork. Having grown up in Jackson after arriving in the U.S. at the age of 10, Pangborn says the theater is actually the venue where he watched his first movie in America.
“Fifty years later, my art is projected on the same screen,” Pangborn told Park West. “I’m touched and honored.”
Tickets are $13 per person, which includes a restoration fee for the Michigan Theatre.