Alas, alas, I won’t be able to blog much for the next several days because I will be involved in several showings of the 2012 remake of the musical production, Godspell, at a local high school.
I know the band director for this school and he had asked me if I would be willing to play guitar for the musical. To which I pondered, let’s see…be involved in a cool musical production where the gospel story is being told to contemporary music by students in a public high school setting? Yes! Count me in!
If you’ve never heard of Godspell before, it’s a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, including a 2011 revival which played on Broadway from October 13, 2011 to June 24, 2012.
The Godspell storyline is based on the Gospel of Matthew, with a series of parables and ending with the passion and resurrection. All of it spun to contemporary settings and contemporary music. The 2012 rendition that I’m playing in is just the latest updated contemporary rendition of the original musical. It’s funny and very moving.
I would like to briefly mention my experience so far. I have to say that I have loved every minute of this! Especially, seeing these wonderful students begin to blossom in their roles.
What’s most amazing is that a lot of these students have never heard these parables before. They are reciting Jesus’ words, probably for the first time. And what I’m beginning to see is that it’s having its subtle yet profound effect. And how can it not! It’s a superbly creative rendering of the greatest story ever told! And, after all, we’re talking about Jesus–the Hope and Desire of nations! How can we not “love Him more dearly” when we finally get to know Him?
And I’m seeing them starting to get the gospel story they’re telling. A story about Jesus and His first followers, learning how to live in community, not one based in cold religion in steepled stained-glass buildings, but birthed in an environment of God’s unconditional love and life, right where people live out their everyday lives.
It’s about hearts being knit together in relationship…it’s about learning about the Father’s heart through the parables, it’s about the expectations, the hopes and dreams awakened…
The sad realization that the Friend they had grown to dearly love, who had awakened their hearts like never before, was going to be leaving them…
The horror of His betrayal and death…
Ending with the surprising exhilaration of new life and finding strength of purpose in the resurrection and their new mission.
What I’m seeing is, the students are going through all of these emotions and feeling a little of what it must’ve been like for the first disciples. The discussions after the rehearsals along these lines with the directors and the students about their roles have been awesome. They are learning about how Christians are supposed to be living, in relationship and community through His love. All taught in the context of performing this musical. I am so honored to be a part of this and, once again, completely amazed by God’s grace through it all. He is so good!
We will be performing this for the entire school this Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. (US – Central time), then will be doing several shows that are open to the community for the next two weeks. I would really appreciate your prayers for this event, not only for the cast and musicians, but that it would truly open these student’s hearts to want to know God’s love personally for themselves and, finally, that it does the same for our community. Thanks!
Here’s a video clip from 2012 Broadway production. You can also see video clips from the original 1973 movie on YouTube.
Prepare our public schools for the way of the Lord!