Godspell is a musical written by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. Based on the parables of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s gospel, including three parables that were only recorded in Luke. Godspell is primarily a comedy with only a brief dive into serious subject matter with the crucifixion of Jesus, the show’s lead character.
The original professional incarnation of the show opened off Broadway in 1971 and closed in 1976 after 2124 performances. After revivals in London, Toronto, Broadway, Off Broadway, Broadway again in 2011, that 2011 production is now touring the United States and has landed in the Winspear Opera House.
Godspell definitely pokes fun at the Bible, and manages to walk right up to the blasphemy line, but it never crosses it, or loses it’s moral compass. The parables of Christ are told in between (and during) numbers, and the ensemble reacts with a sharp punny wit that will definitely catch you laughing out loud. The songs are pop, but with mostly biblical lyrics. Despite the subject matter, the show doesn’t quite go the preachy route and has thankfully (for modern audiences) been updated and is loaded with relevant, era-appropriate humor and well-timed audience participation.
The cast, lead by Jake Stern as Jesus, is excellent. The harmonies and choreography are sharp, the staging simple, and John Yun’s on stage band is flawless. Is Godspell earth shattering musical theatre? No. Is it catchy, sparkly, hilarious and fun? Yes. Check out the tour, before it checks out on March 2nd.
Grab tickets and information at ATTPAC.org.