Godspell

February 3, 2013

Godspell

Godspell is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, including a 2011 revival which played on Broadway from October 13, 2011 to June 24, 2012. Several cast albums have been released over the years and one of its songs, “Day by Day” from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.

The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew (though three of the parables featured are recorded only in the Gospel of Luke). These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance. It started as a college project performed by students at Carnegie Mellon University and moved to La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in Greenwich Village. It was then re-scored for an off-Broadway production which became a long-running success. A junior one-act version with some songs removed has also been made under the title Godspell Junior.

I was at a cross roads wondering whether to carry on with acting and music when my mentor and manager Derek Bowman called me to attend an audition for a new musical called ‘Godspell’. I auditioned and was offered the part of Jesus. I asked the director should I grow a beard, he said no we play Jesus as a red nosed clown! Godspell for me and an ensemble cast of sparkling talent was a truly wonderful experience which turned me into an over night success.