GODSPELL THE MUSICAL

The History of Godspell

Godspell The Musical

Godspell is 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. Several cast albums have been released over the years and one of its songs, "Day by Day" from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.

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, Joseph Beruh, and Stuart Duncan 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.