Broadway Revival of Godspell Postponed

By Andrew Gans
August 19, 2008

The Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak's Godspell, which was scheduled to co-star "American Idol" finalist Diana DeGarmo and Tony nominee Gavin Creel, has been postponed.

Producer Adam Epstein said in an Aug. 19 statement, "I am devastated that, due to the loss of a major investor in the harsh reality of a slowing economy, there were no other options at this time than to postpone. I could not in good conscience move forward without full confidence that the capitalization was in place and that all of those employed by the production could be responsibly taken care of. . . Even in light of the situation, my passion for this vibrant production is unwavering and it is my goal to regroup as soon as possible."

Composer Schwartz added, "I take comfort in my belief that productions happen when they are supposed to. The cast and creative team was poised to create a terrific production and I have no doubt it will be just that when its time comes."

Godspell is the latest casualty of the new theatre season, which has already seen postponements and/or cancellations of the revival of Brigadoon; the Harry Connick Jr. vehicle Nice Work If You Can Get It; and the revival of Ntozake Shange's acclaimed play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

Godspell had been scheduled to begin previews Sept. 29 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre with an official opening for Oct. 23. In addition to Creel and DeGarmo, the announced cast included Joshua Henry as Judas with Uzo Aduba, Andrew Arrington, Sara Chase, Celisse Henderson, Morgan James, David Josefsberg, Telly Leung, Kyle Post, Dana Steingold, Maria Thayer and Daniel Torres.

Daniel Goldstein was scheduled to direct the production with choreography by Christopher Gattelli (Altar Boyz). Producers included Adam Epstein, Broadway Across America and Stewart F. Lane/Bonnie Comley.

Godspell features a score by Schwartz and a book by Tebelak. Based on "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," the musical, press notes state, uses "improvisation and contemporary themes to illustrate the parables, [bringing] these lessons to life through the grand tradition of musical theatre." Song titles include "Day By Day," "Save The People," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."

After a five-year run Off-Broadway (the musical opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre May 13, 1971, and transferred to the Promenade in August of that year), Godspell opened at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre in June 1976. It eventually played both the Plymouth and Ambassador theatres before closing Sept. 4, 1977, after 527 regular performances. Godspell was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak.

The upcoming revival was based on a critically acclaimed staging at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2006.

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