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Prepare Ye

OK, so, Godspell.

Thing is a friend of mine directs summer drama classes at this school in Bryn Mawr, Pa. They have a three-week whirlwind rehearsal period that ends with a full production, and this summer they're doing Godspell.

It's an all-girls Catholic school and, for quasi-theological and dramatic reasons with which I strongly disagree, they weren't really comfortable with having a girl play the part of Jesus. And since I'm a male and my work schedule makes me available for daytime rehearsals and I already had something of a messiah complex … well, there you go.

All of which explains why the blogging around here has been more sporadic than usual in recent weeks. I've been singing and dancing and running lines with a very talented group of young ladies. We open, and close, Friday night and, this week especially, it's a lot of work. I've only got two rehearsals left to get right this little Charleston thing at the end of "All for the Best." (The girl playing Judas has it down — which doesn't seem right, since in Godspell Judas is also John the Baptist, and everyone knows Baptists can't dance.)

It's a lot of work but also a lot of fun — and a privilege to work with this young cast. Godspell — like the Gospel of Matthew on which it is loosely based — is more interested in what Jesus said and did than in the gory details of how the Romans killed him, so I find it a lot more interesting than Mel's movie.

And but so anyway, the girls have worked hard and I promised them I would try to help provide an audience.

So this Friday night at 8, if you're free and you're anywhere near Bryn Mawr (directions here to 480 Bryn Mawr Ave.), you can come see me and this very talented group of young ladies revisit the greatest story ever told. As a singer and dancer, I'm a pretty good blogger, but these girls are worth seeing. (Tickets are $5, but just tell 'em Jesus invited you and you can get in free.)

Who knows? One of these young ladies could go on to fame on SNL or Second City and you could tell everybody you saw them way back when.

  • Andew Smith

    Godspell — like the Gospel of Matthew on which it is loosely based…
    I had the occasion a few years ago to review the Black Hills Playhouse’s production of “Godspell”. I noticed something odd during the premier. “A sower went out to sow his seed…” (Luke 8:5, NRSV, also RSV). That got me coming back every night and checking the dialogue.
    Here’s what I found: Jesus’ words are from Matthew; the ensemble’s words are from Luke. this juxtaposition of the two gospels provides the dramatic tension that propels the piece throughout.
    Matthew and Luke don’t mix. Not that they’re apples and oranges; no, they don’t mix because their original audiences – - and agendas – - were radically different.

  • Hugh D. Hyatt

    Rats! I’m already otherwise engaged. Otherwise, I’d be there.

  • Keith

    I did Godspell in Highschool. I played the John the Baptist/ Judus part. It made me understand what televegangalists get out of the whole fire and brimstone hollering bit: it’s a great way to blow off steam, have one out in florid language and bitch at other people for their failings. Quite the power trip. The problem is that’s all it really is, a power trip. You do it for too long and yu start to believe your oen hype, that They are sinners but You are saved. The fact that in Godspellt he same person who plays the televangelist ends up as Judus is, in my mind, a little critique of this. But maybe I’m reading into it a little too much.

  • Rebecca Allen, PhD

    Playing Jesus, surrounded by a group of young ladies? Gee, Clark, what a rough life you have! I’m on the W. Coast, so I won’t be there, but hope it goes well. “Light of the World” and “Turn Back O Man” are two of my all-time favorite songs.

  • Mark

    “Godspell is fine, but I’ve always been more partial to “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This is probably because the torment, doubt, and heresies great and small appeal to me more, as I’m a wholly lapsed Lutheran.
    Just saw “JCS” in Philadelphia. Sound and mixing could have been better, but it was fantastic for me to finally see this old favorite performed live.

  • Mark

    “Godspell is fine, but I’ve always been more partial to “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This is probably because the torment, doubt, and heresies great and small appeal to me more, as I’m a wholly lapsed Lutheran.
    Just saw “JCS” in Philadelphia. Sound and mixing could have been better, but it was fantastic for me to finally see this old favorite performed live.

  • Barry

    I did Godspell a few years ago and sang the solo on “All Good Gifts”. My favorite song in that show is “We Beseech Thee”, and in our production the little pseudo-instrumental break in the middle of the song eventually broke out into “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”…which segued right back into the song.
    Great fun.

  • Lisa

    We sang songs from Godspell at my music camp many years ago. Great stuff, even if you’re Jewish. :)
    Pree—ee-ee-pare ye the way of the Looorrrrd!

  • Ab_Normal

    I played piano for my high school’s production of “Godspell”. Our Jesus could dance, but he couldn’t really sing. And, I used to like “Day by Day”, until I had to listen to it, what, three times a show…

  • cgeye

    “Godspell” can still make me cry, as does “West Side Story” — young people, ideals, hopes crushed and wonderful show tunes.
    Everything I see Victor Garber in, I judge against his filmed performance as Jesus — which makes watching him in ALIAS a trip and a half.


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