The Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre is partnering with the University of Central Oklahoma's Department of Musical Theatre to open CityRep's 12th season with the musical “Godspell,” which features a score by “Wicked” composer Stephen Schwartz and brings a host of well-loved songs including “Day By Day.”
An enduring musical on and off Broadway, “Godspell” returned to Broadway in 2011, and the revival received critical acclaim. Schwartz offered his musical talents to the updated production by composing new music and lyrics, modernizing the 1970s version to bring the parables of Jesus Christ to life and reach today's audiences.
Under the leadership of CityRep founding artistic director Donald Jordan, the joint production of “Godspell” with UCO is directed by Jonathan Beck Reed, choreographed by Steven Smeltzer and under the musical direction of Chuck Koslowske.
“Because the revival was so successful, there's a national tour out right now, and we're one of the only theaters in the country that has the rights to do this new version,” Jordan said. “We picked this production to open our season so you could see Stephen Schwartz's biggest hit ‘Wicked,' which is actually the biggest hit in the history of musical theater, and then the very next weekend you could see his very first hit, ‘Godspell.' And it's exciting for musical theater audiences to experience back to back.”
The various settings for “Godspell” have changed throughout the years and differ from production to production. Some are set in a playground or on rooftops and others on the streets of New York City.
“The story is timeless,” said Reed, explaining the creative approach to The Oklahoman. “An old traveling circus came to mind, but one that has been telling this story for 100 years, so there is a real magical and colorful element, and we incorporated some of the iconic images in our production for people who are familiar with the show.”