Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités


Godspell presents the gospel of St. Matthew updated to New York City of the late '60s/early '70s, featuring Jesus Christ as a wandering minstrel dressed like a circus clown.

Synopsis complet


1 Godspell peut-être considéré comme un Top musical


Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

The show originated in 1970 as Tebelak's master's thesis project, under the direction of Lawrence Carra, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A version was performed at Carnegie Mellon in 1970, with several of the cast members from the CMU Music Department. Tebelak then directed the show, with much of the student cast, for a two-week, ten performance run at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (aka Cafe la Mama), New York City, opening February 24, 1971. It was brought to the attention of producers Edgar Lansbury (brother of Angela Lansbury) and Joseph Beruh by Carnegie alumnus Charles Haid (associate producer), who wanted to open it Off-Broadway.
The producers hired Stephen Schwartz, another alumnus of Carnegie Mellon's theater department, to write a new song score. Schwartz's songs incorporated a variety of musical styles, from pop to folk rock, gospel, and vaudeville. One song, "By My Side", written by CMU students Jay Hamburger and Peggy Gordon, was kept from the original score. As with the original score, most of the non-Schwartz lyrics were from the Episcopal Hymnal (see also the 1971 Off-Broadway run).



Liste des chansons

Act I
Opening ‡
Prologue:Towers of Babble ‡
Prepare ye The Way of the Lord
Save the People
Day By Day
Learn Your Lessons Well
O Bless the Lord
All for the Best
All Good Gifts
Light of the World

Act II
Learn Your Lessons Well (Reprise) ‡
Turn Back, O Man
Alas for You
By My Side
Beautiful City †
We Beseech Thee
Day By Day (Reprise)
On The Willows

‡ These songs were not part of the original production, but are sometimes performed in contemporary productions
"Beautiful City" was written in 1972 as part of the movie and re-written in 1993 after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Its position in the film is directly after "By My Side," which in turn follows directly on from "Alas for You," omitting the parable in between. This provides a sequence where Jesus upturns the tables at the temple before the pharisees. Then, scared by what he has done, he walks off, followed by the disciples, who ask, "Where are you going? Can you take me with you?" and they are reunited with Jesus, and sing "Beautiful City."
Many theatrical directors choose to use it in place of the "Day by Day" reprise. "Beautiful City" has also been used at the very end of the play in an additional dialogue-free scene that depicts the Resurrection, which was not depicted in the original.
In their Broadway Junior series — popular musicals edited to one act and appropriate for middle school — Music Theater International supplies "Beautiful City" as part of the show. This version contains much of the first act and very little of the second: "By My Side" is omitted entirely. "Beautiful City" is at a point in the beginning of the traditional second act, but followed quickly by the Last Supper, the Betrayal, and the Crucifixion.
The 2011 Broadway revival places "Beautiful City" between "We Beseech Thee" and the Last Supper, sung as a slow ballad by Jesus to his followers.

Textes disponibles on-line

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Pour en savoir plus

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Godspell.

Quelques remarques

The hippie garb that the cast wears has caused controversy. In the 1999, "Notes on the Script", Stephen Schwartz wrote, "There are often misconceptions about the concept of the clown analogy in Godspell. For instance, sometimes it is misunderstood as the cast being 'hippies' or 'flower children'. The concept was derived by John-Michael Tebelak from a book by Harvey Cox, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, entitled Feast of Fools.
Another point to note is that Godspell has a particularly Protestant, rather than orthodox or Catholic, take on the public life of Christ, and departs somewhat from the biblical record. For example, St Peter, named in the four gospels more than all other followers of Christ combined, is completely absent in the play; his place as Jesus' "right hand man" is replaced by John the Baptist/Judas, mainly the latter role. Mary the mother of Jesus, present at the opening (Jn 2:1-12)and closing (Jn 19:25-27)of Jesus' public life, and at several points along the way, also disappears and is replaced by the Mary Magdelan role. The departure from the biblical account is an interesting point, if only to students of comparative Christian traditions.


Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Godspell

Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Godspell


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