Lipscomb University introduces Godspell as the fall season musical, opening on Nov. 2 in Collins Auditorium. Show dates are Nov. 2-4, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for faculty/staff/alumni, and $5 for students.
The play that started as a college senior project to share the joy of the Gospel almost 50 years ago, has found its way back onto a college campus through Lipscomb University’s Homecoming performance, depicting the life and teachings of Jesus through a fun-filled, creative new staging.
Jonathan Killebrew who resides in Pleasant View, is part of the lively cast of characters.
“All of the parables are taught in the style of improvisational clowning games and theatre games,” said Scott Baker, director of marketing and recruiting for the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts. “It uses all of these different traditional commedia dell'arte and vaudeville style gags and theatre tricks: impressions, juggling, pratfalls, sight gags, magic tricks, sleight of hands and such to entertain the audience and to give the group something to coalesce around.”
As director of the production, Baker is thrilled to present a show that highlights the intersection of faith and art, a topic he is both fascinated and passionate about.
Baker said the original production was a loose script written by John-Michael Tebelak as a senior project and included an improvisational music performance. When it was time to take the play to New York, another lyricist Stephen Schwartz, known for Pippin and Wicked, gave it a professional finish with new lyrics and music.
Lipscomb’s depiction of Godspell will utilize a 2012 revision by Schwartz in this performance, but it will still have the main concepts, joy in the telling of Christ and the formation of Christian community Tebelak designed. Baker has also added a personal touch to the setting of the musical.
“When the Gospel first came it was embraced by women and slaves, those at the bottom of society in the Roman world, as good news, very good news,” said Baker. “It was not received that way by the wealthy and powerful. The play is set in a way that allows the audience to understand that it is good news being brought to people at the bottom and that the Gospel is not limited to notions of prosperity or security, but that it’s good news that reaches us wherever we are – and out of that can come joy and community formation.”