"Bless the Lord": Revival of Godspell Opens on Broadway Nov. 7

By Andrew Gans
November 7, 2011

The first Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell, the rock musical that relates parables of Jesus, officially opens at the Circle in the Square Theatre Nov. 7 at 7 PM following previews that began Oct. 13.



Directed by Daniel Goldstein with choreography by Tony Award nominee Christopher Gattelli, the cast comprises Hunter Parrish (Spring Awakening, "Weeds") as Jesus, Wallace Smith (American Idiot) as Judas, Uzo Aduba (Coram Boy), Nick Blaemire (Cry-Baby), Celisse Henderson ("The Electric Company," In Transit), Morgan James (Wonderland, The Addams Family), Telly Leung (Rent, "Glee"), Lindsay Mendez (Everyday Rapture, Grease), Anna Maria Perez de Tagle ("Hannah Montana," "Fame") and George Salazar (Spring Awakening national tour). (Actress Morgan James sprained her ankle during rehearsals; her understudy, Julia Mattison, is currently playing her role.) Read Playbill.com's recent Stage to Screens column about Hunter Parrish.

Godspell also features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Miranda Hoffman, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by Andrew Keister, projection design by Daniel Brodie, special effects by Chic Silber, orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Michael Holland, musical coordination by John Miller and musical direction by Charlie Alterman.

Director Goldstein reunited the designers of the critically acclaimed 2006 Paper Mill Playhouse conception of Godspell for this new Broadway production that has been "completely re-imagined" for the Circle in the Square, Broadway's only in-the-round theatre. (Designer Korins has hidden a pool of water and other surprises within the stage floor.)

Wallace Smith and Lindsay Mendez in Godspell.
photo by Jeremy Daniel

Conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak with music and new lyrics by Academy and Grammy Award winner Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin), Godspell — a hip musical re-telling of the New Testament's Gospel of Matthew — made its New York City premiere in May 1971. The show was an Off-Broadway and Broadway smash in the 1970s. The Tony-nominated score features the songs "Day by Day," "Turn Back, O Man," "Learn Your Lessons Well, "Prepare Ye the Way," "Light of the World" and many more.

Godspell features a score by Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. The musical, the producers say, uses "improvisation and contemporary themes to illustrate the parables, [bringing] these lessons to life through the grand tradition of musical theatre."

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. Read the recent Playbill magazine feature about composer-lyricist Schwartz.

Godspell is produced by Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Broadway Across America, Luigi Caiola, Rose Caiola, Edgar Lansbury, Mike McClernon, The Tolchin Family, Guillermo Wiechers & Juan Torres and The People of Godspell. Associate producers include Dennis Grimaldi Production, Todd Miller, Pivot Entertainment Group, Chris Welch and Cedric Yau.

Tickets are $125 for all performances except Saturday evenings, which are $135. Tickets are available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com/godspell.  Circle in the Square Theater is located at 1633 Broadway at 50th Street.

Visit www.godspell.com for more information.

View highlights from the show: