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Published on Oct 13, 2008
The two original cast members playing Jesus and Judas. Godspell (an archaic spelling of the word gospel) is a 1970 musical by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since. 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 structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, taken primarily from the Gospel of Matthew. These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of performance. It started as a college project performed by students at Carnegie Mellon University and moved to La Mama in Greenwich Village. It was then re-scored for an off-Broadway production that was a long-running success, but most people are familiar with the film version or have seen a local high school production of the musical.
The musical opened a year after another religiously-themed successful rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.