Has anyone heard anything about the musical Godspell? My dad called me to ask about it. He apparently has the opportunity to get tickets to it and wanted to know if there’s anything he should know about it before seeing it. Thanks in advance.

It’s a great musical! I think it’s based on the Gospel of Mark, but I could have that wrong. It’s much lighter than Jesus Christ Superstar. :slight_smile:

Wow, thanks for the quick reply! So I take it there’s not anything a conservative Catholic would find terribly offensive?

Sorry, it’s based on Gospel of Mathew. Nothing wrong that I know of…it has some songs on the lighter side. There is a good song about the Beatitudes in it as well. My sister was in the play back when she was in high school and I really liked it even as a 5th grader.

GODSPELL is based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew. In the Gospel, Jesus Christ preaches through parables and storytelling. The show, which is not built on a traditional plot, utilizes clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics, and vaudeville to tell the story of Christ. A pageant that moves from moment to moment, Godspell is a reflection on the life of Jesus by ten performers who are dressed as clowns.

Thanks. Apparently the USCCB liked it ok, too (the movie version anyway).

The book was written by John Michael Tebelak. As a candidate for a Master of Fine Arts degree at Carnegie Mellon University he was required to write or direct a play. With a few months before the finished project was due, he still had no clue as to what the play would be about.

On Easter Sunday, 1970 he attended Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Like many college students, he had long hair and wore jeans. When he tried to enter the Cathedral, an usher objected to his appearance, and summoned a policeman. Tebelak was not allowed to enter unless he consented to be frisked for drugs.

That was his inspiration: instead of keeping the new generation away from the Gospel, he wanted to make it contemporary and accessible. I think he has accomplished his goal.

(And for those who appreciate irony, Godspell might not have become as popular had the score not been revised by a Jewish classmate, Stephen Schwartz.)

As long as you know what it is, it is not really offensive. In fact, that may be the problem. There is no resurrection and no miracles in Godspell. One is inclined to walk away from it with the Jesus-as-great-teacher view than Jesus-the-Son-of-God view.


[quote=Scott Waddell]As long as you know what it is, it is not really offensive. In fact, that may be the problem. There is no resurrection and no miracles in Godspell. One is inclined to walk away from it with the Jesus-as-great-teacher view than Jesus-the-Son-of-God view.Scott

I think that Scott’s views are important to remember.

I do think, though, that Godspell is interesting in that some of the lyrics are taken from traditional hymnody (e.g., all good gifts), although with new melodies.

It is the music that really drives the play or film. I have not seen the play but the movie soundtrack is uplifting, inspiring and moving. Many of the songs were played during my senior high school retreat and I still remmeber them. I have the CD of the soundtrack and play it when I need to be uplifted. "Day By Day, “By My Side,” “Beautiful City” and “On the Willows” very moving.

In 1973, our 8-th grade teacher Sister Anne taught us all the songs to it, singing along with a record in class. Then we went on a field trip to Chicago to see it. I didn’t understand it so much then, but loved the music. Recently I rented the video from our city library and let my children watch it.

I’d like to see it again. I don’t know enough about Catholicism to know if an “orthodox” Catholic would be offended, but overall if you can put up with the hippy look and a little silliness you should be OK. If you want it to be solemn like a Mass or something, then don’t go. Before deciding not to go, though, at least rent the sound track and listen to some of the songs. I like them all, and play them on the piano for my kids to sing.


I am of the generation that remembers the original Godspell from when it was playing on Broadway in the 1970s. Apparently, our parish school which has been very successful with school plays is putting on Godspell this spring. My parish priest doesn’t have a problem with the show.

Just thought I’d pass this along.
The movies Godspell will be on Turner Classic Movie channel tonight at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Check local listings, as they say.

I know some here like it & some don’t (not to start all that again) but many are probably too young to ever have seen it, so here’s your chance to make up your own minds without having to rent it.

According to the schedule, *Godspell *will be airing tomorrow (Wednesday) night, not tonight.


I went to the theater in 1973 with a friend to see the film version of “Godspel”. It affected me in a strange way. At the end i cried like a baby and my friend didn’t know what to do. I mean i was really weeping out loud. I have no idea why it affected me this way. It, by no means, is a realistic telling of the story of Christ.

Anyway, it is showing **tonight at 8 PM Eastern Time on Turner Classic Movies [TCM]. ** I thought i saw a thread a short time ago on this film comparing it to “Jesus Christ:Suprestar” I thought this would be a good chance for those who have not seen “Godspel” to see it. By the way, it was originally filmed with a monaural sound tract. Don’t expect stereo.

I saw the trailer for it on TCM and even that brought tears to my eyes.

Joseph Michael

Godspell review at IMDB

There is a message board there at the bottom.

I’ll be watching it again tonight. I know i will cry again.

Joseph Michael

So I missed the airing last night (due to Knights of Columbus commitments), but my bride schocked :eek: me when I came home.

She looked it up on IMDb: Victor Garber, who made his movie debut playing Jesus, went on to play such roles as the creeper-law professor in Legally Blonde! I have to say it again: :eek: !

will never watch either movie in the same way again

I have seen it live and liked it (I hope to see it again soon, since the college where I teach is doing it this summer). I found the bits of the movie I saw last night unbearably and unbelievably bad. I think it’s one of those musicals that just doesn’t work as a movie!


:slight_smile: love godspell! my school did it this year for a musical. i sang ‘by my side’. greattttt play! i like the play better than the movie.

The movie was amazing, very cheesy, but it does in a way help people understand the Gospel according to matthew better. :thumbsup: The music was fantastic. I was just confused because I thought the guy who was supposed to be John the Baptist was also Judas. I could be confused, however. :shrug:

Yes, in the film a single actor (without costume/make-up changes) portrays the Baptist, Peter and Judas. It has been too long since I’ve seen a stage production to recall if that is typical. But I’m guessing it is something done to make it “edgy”.


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