“I went home and realized what I wanted to do with the Gospels: I wanted to make it the simple, joyful message that I felt the first time I read them and recreate the sense of community, which I did not share when I went to that service.”
—John-Michael Tebelak, bookwriter and original director of Godspell
There has been a lot of debate over what Jesus would think of various contemporary social issues. In St. Louis, and many other cities, that question has brought people from churches out to protests. Godspell emerged out of a time of civil unrest and an active struggle for social justice, and its reflections on Jesus as a rebel—carving his own path and upsetting the religious status quo—remain topical. The connections are there without having to venture far from the Gospels themselves.
Have lovely holidays, with whatever religious or social significance you prefer, and keep an eye out for more thought-provocation and context as we approach Godspell in the new year!
(I don’t believe that the song functions as a generalization against all Christians, but rather as a social critique; however, this is the internet, so here’s an opposing point of view!)
While Schwartz did write a few songs’ lyrics, most of the lyrics in Godspell are derived from the Episcopal hymnal. Here are a few of the hymns in their traditional form, before Schwartz gave them the Godspell treatment.
Burning Man creates a city in a desert every year that lasts for a week, and then is completely removed. Among the many structures that Burners erect for the week of Burning Man each year are temples. The Huffington Post looks at ten years of temples and the spirituality of Burning Man that they reveal.
It’s an hour long, but this panel is full of great discussion of the different ways that Burning Man, and groups influenced by Burning Man, create and nurture communities.
Stephen Schwartz drew on a range on influences, in popular music as much as in musical theatre, in order to compose Godspell‘s score. Here are a few songs and artists that helped to shape the sound of the show.