Rights Holders – Samuel French
Composer – Stephen Schwartz
Genre – Rock Musical
Cast Size – 10- 30
Leads – 2M
Supporting Roles – Written for 6 but flexible.
Band size – 4
Costume/set/technical – Depends on setting-can be low cost.
Bromley Players performed Godspell at the Bob Hope Theatre in 2013. I was lucky enough to play one of the Disciples.
A rock musical based on the gospel of St Matthew which deals with the last days of Jesus and includes a dramatized version of several parables. The beauty of this show, unlike most other musicals is that the rights allow you to play around with the show – i.e set in what ever period you wish or contextualise it how you wish. For example the original version is a group of people in a playground whereas the production I was in was set in St Pancras Station during the riots.
This is a show you can produce with just 10 people as they did in the original film version or you can easily add an ensemble and more featured soloist. The version I was in was actually a great ensemble piece and we all remained on stage the whole time. The most important piece of casting is Jesus who has at least 4 numbers to sing. He also has a large amount of dialogue so needs to be very engaging to watch. The rest of the disciples numbers vary greatly from the folk type number By My Side to the gospel number Bless My Soul. It is therefore a great vehicle for a society to showcase their singers. Age is no barrier to this show and if you are clever when setting it you can even make it a feature. For example a society with older members can set it in an old peoples home with the few younger members can be visiting members in the home, or at the other end of the spectrum if mainly younger members it can be set in a school/college/university with the few older members being teachers/lecturers.
As mentioned above you can set this production where ever you wish. The set therefore can range from a playground to St Pancras Station and anything in between. For those societies on a budget the only limit is your imagination and you could potentially put together a cheap set very effectively.
The same applies to costumes as it does to the set. Bromley Players spent a grand total of £0 on costumes by getting cast to use what they already had in their wardrobe.
Depending on the setting depends on the technicality of the show. You could have anything from a single lighting state throughout the show to moving lights. Depending on the size of the venue will depend on your sound needs. The score has a great rock sound so it is likely that you will need a good amplification system and microphones.
This show is written for a 4 piece band – keys, guitar, bass guitar and drums/percussion.
As there is so much creative space for the director within this production the director MUST have a strong vision for this show. The musical director needs to be confident with a variety of musical styles and leading a rock band. Finally due to the the variety of musical types your choreographer should be familiar with a variety of styles – a bit of tap for All for the Best, some sultry sexy movement for Turn Back Oh Man.
Bums on Seat:
This show was not a great seller for Bromley Players – we sold around 65% overall for it. A lot of people seemed put off by the religious theme. That being said it is a family friendly show which should appeal to all ages. You can also try to push the angle that it is by the same writer as Wicked.
This show has great potential for many societies – from those wanting to do something a bit different by choosing a director with courage to take the show in a different direction to a society wanting to put on a traditional show. Due to the small band and the flexibility with costumes/set/technical requirements it is also brilliant for a society on a budget and despite Bromley Players production only selling 65% they made their biggest profit in recent years on it.
Also by Stephen Schwartz (apart from Wicked which is not yet available to licence) is Pippin, The Bakers Wife and Children of Eden.