If you don’t know about Godspell (and I counted myself among you), it is a beloved classic musical that first debuted on Broadway in 1971, from Stephen Schwartz, the Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning composer of WICKED and PIPPIN. If the title doesn’t give it away, the show is a timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and love and has more than just a few religious undertones.
The first half of the show is a colorful and fun mish-mash of religious principles and Biblical quotes—an eye for an eye; let he who is without sin cast the first stone; turning the other cheek—acted out by “Jesus Christ” and his disciples. The second half mainly focuses on Christ’s betrayal and resurrection. With improvisation, playful props and catchy songs, the production turns the New Testament into a very entertaining and relatable, good-natured and energized production, regardless of your personal religious beliefs.
Truly, I’ve never seen a cast who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the material that they were performing as much as the audience. The show is fun for everyone and is an updated version of the original, with references to things we all know and love, including Facebook, Lindsay Lohan and Donald Trump. The intimate feel of the circular theater and the frequent interactions of the cast with the audience added to the “let’s-just-all-have-a-great-time” feel of the entire show. Every actor in the cast had a solo opportunity to showcase his or her impressive comedic and singing talents. Kudos also to the production team; the stage itself wound up being a character in the show, as small set reveals—including trampolines, musicians spread out among the audience and a baptismal pool—surprised and delighted the entire audience.
I would Absolutely and 100% YES! recommend Godspell I laughed. I clapped. I gave a standing ovation. I had a great time. In the middle of one song, during which the audience happily obliged in raising its hands in Hallelujah, I joked with my friend that I wish church was like this. My friend, who is Jewish, laughed, “If it was, I’d convert!” (Although I would suggest using Godspell as a great adult night out and pass on bringing the youngest ones, given the crucifixion and pop culture references.)
Godspell is playing at Circle in The Square (1633 Broadway at 50th Street, NYC). The performance schedule is Oct 13 – Nov 13: Tuesday – Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2:30pm & 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm & 7:30pm. Starting Nov 15, the show will run Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday at 2pm; Thursday and Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2:30pm & 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm & 7:30pm.
Disclosure: We received two complimentary tickets to this performance, as well as an additional pair of tickets to giveaway, in exchange for a review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.