Check out this great 2012 interview from composer Stephen Schwartz on the Godspell revival, its initial development, as well as productions of Wicked abroad and maintaining the Broadway one.
“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
Check out this excerpt from the Godspell creator’s 1975 interview with Dramatics Magazine (you can find the full interview here). Along with the excerpt are some great links that illustrate not only Godspell‘s origins, but its original production and the addition of “By My Side” in the La Mama production. Did you know that “By My Side” was originally written for a play called “Marigold and Elkin”?
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.
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.
For her novel The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood collaborated on the hymns for her post-apocalyptic Christian hippies, God’s Gardeners. I particularly recommend “When Adam First” and “Oh Sing We Now The Holy Weeds” for their reflection of the spirit of Godspell.
While these songs are appropriate for everyone, The Year of the Flood takes on its post-apocalyptic world in complex and often dark ways, and is intended for adults.
The composer/lyricist responds to questions about the music and lyrics of Godspell. There are also answers by Peggy Gordon, composer of “By My Side.”