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Trivia / Godspell

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The Theatrical Production

  • Adaptation Displacement: The original production featured an all-rock score by Duane Bolick. Stephen Schwartz would completely change the entire score for the off-Broadway production and movie.
  • All-Star Cast: Well, not at the time, but the cast list for the first Toronto production in 1972 reads like a veritable who's who of Canadian comedy: Victor Garber (who would reprise the role for the film), Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Gilda Radner, and Andrea Martin, among others. Oh, and the music director for this production was another young Canadian by the name of Paul Shaffer.
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  • Breakaway Pop Hit: Of all the songs, "Day By Day" was the one that had mainstream success.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The entire show has potential for this. Most good productions run on Throw It In and Ascended Fanon.
  • Dueling Works: It came out the year after Jesus Christ Superstar. Both are musicals that feature Jesus in a version of biblical times with modern technology.
  • Throw It In: An integral part of the show.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The Broadway revival was scheduled to open at the end of 2008; it lost a producer and thus didn't open until the fall of 2011.
  • The script has a note that explains why there is no resurrection: the play isn't really about Jesus, it's about the community he builds and how it continues after he's gone. Of course, many productions ignore this and throw in a resurrection scene at the end anyway.

The 1973 film

  • Blooper: In the widescreen version, at 9:40 in, in the Bethesda Fountain baptism scene, right after John the Baptist sings "Everybody now!", if you look to the upper right there is a man in a pastel shirt in a green rowboat who turns his boat and heads offscreen. This is cropped out of the 4:3 version.
    • While the movie is supposed to take place in an empty New York City, it is debatable exactly when the people disappear from the city. There are lots of people in Central park as the principal players run down the paths to the fountain - it may only truly empty out during "God Save the People."
    • There's also one other instance, again right when New York is going from empty to full. As the troupe carries Jesus to the corner they finally go around and The People come streaming around - you can see a person walking on the other side of the street. However just as with the man in the boat, it's close enough to the switchover - indeed in the same scene - it's excusable.
  • The Cast Show Off: Victor Garber plays the piano during the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and during Day by Day, David Haskell manages to juggle and keep himself balanced on a rolling platform!
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  • Cut Song: "We Beseech Thee" (The "boom-chick" song). "Learn Your Lessons Well" made it in, but is played only as an instrumental.
  • Dueling Movies: Jesus Christ Superstar again. They both became movies in 1973.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: For decades, there was no home release of Godspell. The first VHS tape was released in the mid-90's, and was taped off Cinemax. (you can hear the "Next on Cinemax" right after the film ends!).
  • The Other Darrin: A few, but memorably Lamar Alford, who was replaced by Merrell Jackson for All Good Gifts, and Jackson's performance is markedly better.
  • Much to the surprise of folks who like seeing where actors are now, the cast of the film has had a surprising number of deaths (one third of the cast) considering such a small cast who were in their 20's at the time. By just 30 years later, in 2003:
    • John-Michael Tebelak (Pharisee, and was the creator of the original play) died in 1985
    • Jeffrey Mylett (Taxi driver - Derby hat, plays the recorder) died in 1986
    • Merrell Jackson (Garment worker, who sings "All Good Things) died in 1991
    • Dave Haskell (John/Judas) died in 2000
    • Lynne Thigpen (Library student - Sings "Oh Bless the Lord My Soul") died in 2003
  • A 25-minute "Making of" documentary of making the film has surfaced on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The 1973 film provides the page image for: