The first time I saw GODSPELL was a school field trip roughly around 1995. Clowns and juggling and "Day By Day" and rainbow suspenders.
I didn't understand it at all.
The first time I was in GODSPELL was February of 2000. It was through the St. Eugene Players, my Catholic grade school, while I was a freshman at Loyola Academy. While we had some clowning around, rainbow suspenders, and a faint amount of juggling, I was able to finally see what this show had to offer: a phenomenal score and the chance to play around with friends to tell a story.
Flash forward a year later and Loyola Academy decided to stage it as our Spring musical. I was lucky enough to sing Jeffrey's "We Beseech Thee" another year in a row. I really had lucked out.
13 years later, the time came for The Brown Paper Box Co. to choose our next production. While GODSPELL remained one of my favorite shows (due to its attachment over the years), I didn't have a firm reason why to stage it. All the clowning and antiquated jokes seemed a little outdated. The material a little on the nose. Without a definitive reason, I couldn't convince our company to invest the time and money into staging Stephen Schwartz's 41-year-old musical.
But then something snapped.
GODSPELL is about community, team building, acceptance, and fitting into a society. Our modern society. This isn't the GODSPELL of 1972 and it doesn't have to remain a period piece. With fresh eyes, I looked at the script and thought how to approach it in 2012. Our 10 characters are in desperate need not of religion, per say, but of a sense of love and having their voices heard.
We're setting our production in a mystical study room where our characters are coming together to work on a project. Our show happens today - with modern costuming, modern props, and fresh, new, modern musical accompaniment thanks to my partner-in-crime Musical Director, Katie Colby. We don't have a band. Rather, all the music will come directly from our 10 performers, allowing each character to make new discoveries on multiple theatrical levels. Not only will this break the mold of GODSPELLs I've seen in the past, been in in the past, and thought I've known in the past, but it allows us at The Brown Paper Box Co. the opportunity to bring a re-imagined revival to Chicago.
Whether you've been in it, seen it in the past, or were brought to tears (the laughter kind - not the sobby sad kind) when Wet Hot American Summer sang "Day By Day" during their talent show, there's no denying GODSPELL's place in modern pop culture and its ability to conjure up memories of past experiences. With your help through this Kickstarter campaign, we'll be steps closer to making this new revival a success. We know how to stretch a dollar at The Brown Paper Box Co., so as clique as this may sound, every dollar counts.
Please feel free to share our Kickstarter link, our Facebook page, our website, or Twitter feed with anyone who's been a part of a past GODSPELL production who may want to assist in reaching our goal.
Do you remember your first GODSPELL experience?
Until next time!
GODSPELL director / set design
P.S. I hope you enjoy some, shall we say, embarrassing pictures from the aforementioned past productions of GODSPELL. Can you spot the young me?
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