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Godspell: From the Director

Tal & Stephen Hewitt

Ok, I just have to say it: I LOVE Stephen Schwartz. His music is pure joy. So clever, in the way that it connects on a deeply emotional level whilst also being impossibly catchy and optimistic. You feel his music, as well as hear it. And once you've performed one of his musicals, it stays with you forever.

Like many others before me, Godspell was the first full length musical I ever performed in. (The next one was The Wiz, but that's a topic for a whole other blog). I had a wonderful time. The songs, even in their original arrangements, were sensational and the collaborative and devised nature of the piece made for a very unique performing experience.

In its 2012 New Broadway reimagining, Godspell has been taken to another level. The new arrangements by Michael Holland are crunchy, complex and utterly compelling. There are a lot of guitars (which is why Stephen adores it!). The use of overlapping rhythms and melodies is superb. It is choral and exceptionally challenging, but with rock at its very heart. Making it great fun to sing.

When Stephen and I suggested creating this 2020 production for Centre Stage London, our aim was to capture two things - the spirit of rock that permeates the whole show, and the sense of joy in community that underpins it. "Let there be rock!" is a formal musical direction in the piano score, and we're being true to that by using both guitar and keys at all rehearsals. Our sitzprobe will be at a recording studio, where we're free to turn everything up to 11 (when dramatically appropriate, of course!).

The community aspect of the show is of equal importance to us. This is a show about love, support and hope. About celebrating and supporting individuality and uniqueness. A powerful message, as relevant today as it was when the show was first written.

We’re only in week four of rehearsals but our cast has already spent more time together as a team than most casts do over their entire rehearsal period. It’s just that kind of show. And the creative team has been just wonderful. With Harry teaching 6 minutes of heart-stoppingly complicated a capella without breaking a sweat, Paul (8 years in Starlight Express darling!) choreographing stunning gospel-inspired routines, Stephen running epic unplugged acoustic guitar sessions every weekend, Romana aiming to put the cast in costume by week 5, Chris and Andrew working out how to build Glastonbury at the Bridewell, and our producers James-Lee and Will caring for everyone as if they were family.

I simply can’t think of another show that inspires this kind of approach.

Congratulations Stephen Schwartz. And thank you. We’re having a lot of fun!

Tal Hewitt

Director & Choreographer of Godspell

PERFORMANCE DATES: 24 March – 28 March 2020, The Bridewell Theatre BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE


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