HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTOS
Historic Photos of Godspell:
For photos of the original cast, see the Kenn Duncan archive of Godspell photos at the New York Public Library digital collection. For permission to use NYPL photos, see Permissions and Reproductions.
Godspell Turns 44. New Book Reveals Unique Collaborative History
BETHEL CT. – May 7, 2015. When Godspell opened on May 17, 1971, no one guessed it would become an internationally popular musical, joining the canon of shows most frequently performed around the world. Decades later the musical is still staged by countless church, school, community theater, and other performing groups. A new book offers insights about the experiences and intentions of the show’s creators.
The Godspell Experience: Inside a Transformative Musical is the first book-length account of the show’s rich developmental history, its impact on performers, and the stories behind Stephen Schwartz’s popular score. Author Carol de Giere captured the memories of Schwartz and all of the original cast members who are still living, as well as those of the Godspell movie cast members.
As revealed in the book, the first cast members contributed to the show’s development. Stephen Nathan, who played Jesus for an off-off-Broadway production and the final version at the Cherry Lane Theatre Off-Broadway, recalls many hours of improvisation. As quoted in the book, Nathan says, “Godspell was really all based on play, the innocence of children who see the world uncorrupted—that is how the whole piece evolved. Through improvisations we found what worked and what didn’t work. Ultimately, in the rehearsal process, we solidified those moments that seemed alive and true, and suited the structure of the piece. It was a very transformative process.” This was under the guidance of director John-Michael Tebelak who conceived the show based on material from the Bible, primarily the Gospel of Matthew.
When Stephen Schwartz read a draft of The Godspell Experience, he agreed to write a Foreword. In it he comments: “… it has been fascinating to me to read Carol de Giere’s thoroughly researched and colorfully written book, which contains many details about the development of the show that I never knew before.”
The Godspell Experience is available from Amazon.com (paperback and ebook), at New York City’s Drama Book Shop, and through the book site www.TheGodspellExperience.com.
Carol de Giere previously wrote the Stephen Schwartz biography, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked (Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2008).
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Stephen Schwartz Contributes to New Book on Godspell
Godspell composer Stephen Schwartz has written the Foreword to a new book on the 1971 musical that launched his career. The Godspell Experience: Inside a Transformative Musical is the first book-length account of the show’s developmental history. The 384-page photo-filled book also reveals Schwartz’s approach to each song, and includes complete lyrics.
Author Carol de Giere previously wrote the Stephen Schwartz biography, Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked (Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2008). For the new book she interviewed Godspell’s original cast members, movie cast members, and other Godspell actors, as well as Mr. Schwartz. Their statements are woven into the history and included in an evaluation of the musical’s themes.
Stephen Schwartz comments in his Foreword, “… it has been fascinating to me to read Carol de Giere’s thoroughly researched and colorfully written book, which contains many details about the development of the show that I never knew before.”
The book is a rare source of information on John-Michael Tebelak’s conception of the show and his early work on the musical in college. Chapters on the movie adaptation and recent Broadway revival complete the volume. The Godspell Experience is currently available from Amazon.com and the book’s website http://www.thegodspellexperience.com.
Stephen Schwartz composed the score for Godspell when he was twenty-three years old. He has also written music and/or lyrics for Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden, Working, The Magic Show, and other stage musicals, as well as songs for the animated film The Prince of Egypt, and lyrics for Disney’s Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Enchanted. His website is www.StephenSchwartz.com
Carol de Giere met Stephen Schwartz and many of the Godspell cast members while writing her first book, Defying Gravity. She is the editor of two online newsletters: The Schwartz Scene and Musical Writerzine. She is a fan of Godspell and other musicals and holds master’s degrees in library science and professional writing. Her website is www.caroldegiere.com
CONTACT: Carol de Giere – firstname.lastname@example.org