I can't remember if I wrote about this album or not. I might have mentioned it but not written about it. Well, anyway, I was listening to this album earlier this week because I was practicing the dances to them. I know it sounds silly but I was. Plus, I just love listening to it and singing along. What am I talking about, I sing along to everything I listen to.
Well, I had never heard the music to this show until last summer when I did it and I have to say that Stephen Schwartz is the man. Even in the 70's, he had a recognizable style and flare to his music. After hearing this musical, you can pretty much tell what other musicals he's written. Of course, Godspell has been around for a long time and is probably one of the more popular Schwartz musicals to date, with the exception of Wicked.
Godspell is based on the book of Matthew, telling the story of Jesus' life and teachings in a fun, clowning around, song and dance way. The first act deals with all his early teachings of love thy neighber and brother, keep good deeds done to yourself. The second act than deals with Jesus' last few days on earth, from his encounter with the Pharisees, the Last Supper, his crucifixtion and finally, his resurrection.
All the characters represent the disciples of Jesus and each has their own personality. Each character also has their own musical number which explains or emphasis' one of the teachings of Jesus. All of these songs are very catchy and upbeat, with the exception of Second Act which is more serious. Possibly the most recognized song from this show is "Day by Day", a repeatitive song that grows with each new repeat. The theme never changes and the chorus parts add more to the melody. It starts out very slow but gets faster and more upbeat throughout. I think the reason why it repeats so much is because Schwartz was trying to get the point across that with each new day, we should always look to God.
There are quite the dance numbers in the show as well. Very upbeat and rockin'. "Bless the Lord" is the first big dance number and is the song I sing in the show! This song has a big gospel feel to it as well as a rock and roll. It has a form of question and answer between the men and women parts and between the soloist and the cast. Tons of fun and definitly a showstopper. "Light of the World" is very much a 70's disco song. It certianly has the feel of one.
The ballads in this show are very beautiful and very moving. They are so full of emotion even if they do have a simple melody. Although, the song, "By My Side", which is sung at a point in the play where Judas goes to the Pharisees and Jesus knows he will be leaving them soon, is full of melodic tension, especially between the two women singing it, which are supposed to represent the two prostitutes Jesus' saves. It is a very beautiful song.
This is a great show that I feel stays true to the story of Jesus and his teachings. The music is great and it's so fun to watch and perform. You know you've done your job when the audience comes out crying, in a good way of course. I can't wait to do this show again!