Celebrate Easter with ‘Godspell’ at Gordon: A Timeless Tale Revamped for a Modern Stage 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk with Jesus as one of the twelve disciples? You won’t have to wonder anymore. Gordon’s interactive production of the musical Godspell—performing from March 15–16 and 21–23—gives the iconic 1960s show a modern refresh to make it fun and compelling for Christian and non-Christian audiences alike.  

This production of Godspell is more than just an entertaining story—it’s a celebration of Gordon’s new musical theatre minor and the first production in Gordon’s history where the Music and Theatre Departments have collaborated. Under the newly established Adams School of Music and the Arts, Godspell is a step toward creating long-term collaboration between the artistic disciplines at Gordon to produce performances that will impact the lives of students and the local community for the better.  

A Fresh Take 

The Godspell Broadway musical, composed by Stephen Schwartz, is structured as a series of parables based on the Gospels and interspersed with music mostly set to lyrics from traditional hymns. Norm Jones, professor of theatre arts and the director of Gordon’s production, knows the danger of letting iconic shows become too familiar and wanted to put this staging into a different setting. “If a show is well known, sometimes the meaning of the story gets lost, and I didn’t want that to get lost here with Godspell,” Jones says. 

Jones edited some outdated scenes from the script and brought in Movement Director Jill Rogati ’07 and Technical Director Jessica Algard to adapt other scenes to make them feel more contemporary without changing the nature of the show. He, along with musical director Jess Modaff, also changed the style of a few of the songs of Godspell and transposed them into different keys so the audience won’t fully know what to expect, even from an age-old story.  

Jones wanted the show to feel as relatable as possible. The characters wear modern clothes for costumes. Instead of calling the 12 disciples by their biblical names, most have been renamed to reflect the names of the actors who play them—“Drew” or “Dan,” instead of “Peter” or “Andrew”. When the disciples join Jesus, they all write their names in Sharpie on the white shirt he wears as he welcomes them to the group—and some audience members get to sign, too. 

“I love this show because it’s about people,” says Dan Young ’26, who plays John the Baptist and Judas. “Audience members can relate to the characters themselves because in the show they struggle with issues that we struggle with today. Theatre is not a spectator sport by any means—the audience will be very involved in this show. But if you want to know how, you’ll need to come and see it!”  

A Community Celebration 

Godspell is Gordon’s first production since the creation of the musical theatre minor and the establishment of the Adams School of Music and the Arts. Given the strong artistic communities within both programs at Gordon, musical theatre has long been of interest to many Gordon students. Now students can be a part of both departments in a new and collaborative way.  

“The musical theatre minor is the combination of two already amazing programs,” says Drew Scott ’25, who plays the disciple “Drew” in Godspell and is a musical theatre minor. “I find that music and the arts often go hand in hand. If a student is interested in both majors, then this is a great option to do both. If they’re only interested in one or the other then it gives ample opportunity to expand one’s horizons, step out of their comfort zone and do things never thought possible.” 

True to the mission of the Adams School, Godspell is the first collaborative production between the arts programs at Gordon, with students from theatre, music and art, as well as a handful of other majors, represented. The show’s backdrop from the Art Department is meant to mimic the Wailing Wall from Jerusalem. Every single brick on the wall was made by someone in the show and has a name on it so the crew knows where to put it as the wall is assembled. 

The Christian Connection 

The camaraderie around Godspell, the Adams School and the musical theatre minor has made it possible for students, even those not studying music or theatre, to be a part of a greater community fused together by a passion for the arts and for Christ. The stories that musical theatre tells change lives and create impact—just like the story of Jesus has changed the lives of people worldwide for centuries. 

“Theatre companies that aren’t Christian who produce this show usually try to tell people it’s not about religion, it’s some fun thing,” Young says. “But we view the show through a Christian lens. Yes, it’s about the Bible, but it’s also about people. Theatre is a great thing to support because the community is so good and welcoming. Everyone here is here to help each other succeed. Anyone who comes to see the show will see it’s about that.”   

Get ready to celebrate Easter early and buy your tickets now to watch Godspell at an evening show on March 15–16 or 19–23 at 7:30 p.m., or during a matinee on March 16 or 23 at 3 p.m. in the Margaret Jensen Theatre.