Blute’s SPEARS Nails It

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SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney, Pat Blute’s musical which professed to pair The Greatest Story Ever Told with The Greatest Music Ever Written, ran for the last time at 8 pm last night, in Barnard’s Glicker-Milstein Theatre. Conor Skelding went.

On the jaded Columbia campus, SPEARS’s premise – using the music of Britney Spears to tell the story of Jesus Christ – appeared at first glance merely a parody. It was not. SPEARS took the often told story of Jesus’ birth and death and resurrected it with a new flair for the dramatic.

As pitched, SPEARS was “the gospel according to Britney.” A veritable opera, SPEARS may have lacked dialogue but by no means lacked plot. Sara Miller, choreographer, took it on herself to convey the plot through fantastic arrangements. Aiding her in her pursuit were the actor’s interpretations of Britney’s lyrics and minimal props (e.g. gold, frankincense, and myrrh etc.)

Britney’s songs were masterfully rearranged by Max Druz, musical director. By focusing on both well known and unfamiliar songs, Druz emphasizes the universal nature of both Britney and the gospels.

The question was, “how would Pat Blute’s vision land?” Like Britney’s career it had its ups and downs. A perfect tableau of the Last Supper was a major crowd pleaser; while pairings like that of the Stages of the Cross with a mash up of “Oops…I Did it Again” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” left me feeling uncomfortable as I fell painfully silent.

Despite a large fundraising drive, I found the set and costumes strikingly humble. Yet, much like Jesus, these humble shrouds clothed something great. The cast’s enthusiasm was infectious and pervaded the show.

Michael Carter’s take on the King of the Jews straddled the cerebral and emotional with a particularly pensive portrayal and moving vocal stylings such as an a cappella rendition of “Where Are You Now?”

The score and script managed to showcase many of the talents from within the cast. Tessa Slovis and Ben Ciordia’s vocal talents were not put to waste in powerful numbers like “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” and “Everytime,” while Colette McIntyre’s comedy skills were utilized as a particularly funny Herod.

The show was, however, without a doubt stolen by the electric Alia Munsch. Her Devil used a mixture of violence and sex appeal that seemed reminiscent of Britney’s dirtier phases.

Overall the show was particularly moving. As I danced onstage with the cast for the curtain call, I was reminded of the power of the greatest story ever told; it just took some of the greatest music ever written to remember.

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  1. Go away Bwog.  

    You are drunk.

  2. Anonymous

    fix the typo on "Michale's" name.
    it's sacrilege to misspell the lord and savior's name!

  3. Anonymous

    yeah alia! this girl is so talented!!!

  4. Sara Miller

    is a goddamn saint. one of the best and most friendly people i met at columbia.

  5. But really...  

    Alia Munsch was incredible. I mean a) that voice and b) those dance moves? I didn't even know legs could kick that high! Add the hotness factor to all that, and you really do have a show-stopper. Congrats to everyone though, it was a wonderful production!

  6. Kanye  

    Pat Blute imma' let you finish but V118 was the absolute best piece of theater this semester hands down.

  7. So...  

    Where is the Midsummer review?

  8. Anonymous  

    MICHAEL CARTER FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT A TALENTED MOFO!!!!!!! HES THE BEST!!!!!!!

  9. Damn  

    Alia was fierce as hell (get it? Puns are still funny, right?) But seriously, that girl was insane. Although, am I the only one who left wishing they had just abandoned the kinda flimsy pretense of biblical relevance and just done it as a concert of Britney songs? The cast was so damn good, and all the support work was really strong but I just couldn't bring myself to care who they were pretending to be.

  10. Colette

    was the best thing about this show!!!!!

  11. oh god.  

    "Blute's SPEARS nails it"...

    nails it...

    like je--


    i'm not sure whether to be more shocked by that tasteless allusion or the fact that it took me this long to catch it.

  12. Anonymous  

    Mary Magdelene needs a record contract

  13. Anonymous  


  14. Anonymous  

    underwhelming, honestly.

  15. Anonymous

    I think the only fair review for this show would be "That. Happened."

  16. Go Tessa!  

    what a great performance!

  17. The

    Angel Gabriel was magical... Kasia's voice is just breathtaking

  18. Anonymous  

    Michael Carter was amazing, wow.

  19. Anonymous  

    Michael Carter ... as the worlds greatest socialist of all time... absolutely spectacular....

  20. Anonymous  

    I know, right! he was out of control!!!!!! Someone stop him that boy is on fire!

  21. Anonymous

    I really liked the Jazz version of Toxic!

  22. Anonymous  

    It's trendy and easy to parody or ironically joust at the bible, but would this show have been so well received if it did the same to the Torah? Or the Quran? Think about that.

  23. Anonymous

    I would take your point if it had been an ironic joust at the Bible, but it really wasn't. It was remarkable true to the Gospels and religious tradition, to the point where it included many of the stations of the cross. Although the concept was funny, it's execution, while lighthearted at times, was actually quite orthodox.

  24. Anonymous

    Britney, please do more shows at Columbia or Barnard.

  25. Anon

    1) Mary Magdalene... what a voice. Although they were all pretty good singers, hers was just amazing.
    2) I'm a gay dude and I'd totally do the devil.

  26. Anonymous

    Fantastic production! Hannah Kloepfer (Virgin Mary) is the one who should get a recording contract! What a transcendent voice! And beautiful, too.

  27. Stop being petty  

    THEY SHOULD ALL GET RECORD CONTRACTS DUH. What a talented cast and creative team, CONGRATS TO ALL.

  28. Nice review  

    But what's the point of reviewing a show that no one's going to get to see? Just so Blute can have some more good press? Maybe you could tell him to stop being an asshole and put on some more stagings of the show so, you know, actual students can go see it instead of him just using Columbia resources to advance his career.

    • Member of CU Theater Community  

      Just for your reference, Pat is not responsible for the calendaring of shows. The organization that oversees each production (here, NOMADS, but also CMTS, CUP, KCST, etc) is responsible for booking spaces for shows. That being said, there is SO MUCH THEATER that goes on at this school that no show runs longer than one weekend each. And they did go through some hoops to add a performance, and I'm sure it was tiring for all involved to add the student show at 1030 on Friday.
      If you have an issue with the calendaring policy, take it up with the institution instead of pointing fingers and calling names at people who cannot be blamed.
      I was one of the lucky ones who did see SPEARS, and it was wonderful! Congratulations, Pat! Job well done.

  29. clyde

    Great show. What's next

  30. Anonymous

    Best show so far. The Blute/Miller team far exceeded the expectation of assembling Britney music to the greatest story ever told. All of us were proud of the performnce. The acting was superb especially the way all chipped in the make the last supper scene come alive.
    Please note " the devil is in the detail"

  31. Anonymous

    You're wrong. A parody is exactly what this show was. That was the point.

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