"Save the people," the cast of Godspell sang 30 years ago from the Off-Broadway stage that some of them would spend the next 2,124 performances playing on. Godspell took its first official bow May 17, 1971 in New York City, launching what would include a 527 performance Broadway run, multiple national tours, countless regional and amateur productions and even a major motion picture.
Reunited at the September funeral of David Haskell, the original John the Baptist and Judas, the first cast of the 1971 hit decided to come together again for a happier occasion: the 30th anniversary of the Off-Broadway opening. May 12, with composer Stephen Schwartz in attendance, the original cast of Godspell plus members of the subsequent national tours and the movie version, will meet together in a private celebration to be held at the Sportmens' Lounge in Studio City.
Among those set to attend are original cast members Peggy Fordon, Robin Lamont, Sonia Manzano, Gilmer McCormick, Stephen Nathan (the original Jesus), musical director Steve Reinhardt and members of the original pit band and the first producer Edgar Lansbury with sister Angela (of Sweeney Todd and Gyspy fame). The film will be represented by the original cast who also appeared in the movie, director David Greene and Tony winner Lynn Thigpen. Steppenwolf artistic director Michael Gennerro is one of the regional Godspell actors making an appearance.
Nathan will host the event. Following the get together, all those gathered will sign a poster to be auctioned off by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Based on Biblical text of Matthew's Gospel, Godspell premiered on Broadway June 22, 1976 where it ran through Sept. 4, 1978. Songs in the score include "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," "Save the People," "Day by Day," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "Bless the Lord," "All for the Best," "All Good Gifts," "Light of the World," "Beautiful City," "Turn Back, O Man," "Alas for You" and "On the Willows." — By Christine Ehren