Stephen Schwartz's youthful retelling of the Gospel According to St. Matthew, Godspell, opens Aug. 4 after previews that began Aug. 1 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery, AL.
The playful pop-culture version of the Christ story is known for the pop ballad, "Day by Day" (adapted from a 12th-century prayer) and was an early Off-Broadway -- and, eventually, international -- hit for Schwartz in 1971 and beyond. He would go on to contribute songs or lyrics to Working, The Baker's Wife, Pippin, Rags, and the animated features "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Prince of Egypt," among others.
Kent Gash's staging for ASF continues to Sept. 24. A revised version of Godspell is currently Off- Broadway, at the Theatre at St. Peter's.
The ASF company, on the Festival Stage, features Joey Sorge as Jesus, Mark D. Espinoza as John the Baptist and Judas. Also in the cast are Ana Maria Andricain, Christine Rea, Josh Tower, Kenny Williams, Kirsten Wyatt, Sara Inbar, Stacey Sargeant and Timothy Ware.
Designers are Charles Caldwell (set), Kristine Kearney (costumes), William Grant II (lighting), Don Tindall (sound). Derek Jackson is musical director. Tickets are $20-$30. The Festival Stage of the Carolyn Blount Theatre is in Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park on Woodmere Boulevard just off East Boulevard, in Montgomery, AL. For information, call (800) 841-4273 or visit the web site at www.asf.net.
-- By Kenneth Jones