University's Musical Theatre students bring Godspell to city stage

9 May 2023
Young man crowdsurfing

The University of Winchester’s Musical Theatre ‘Class of ‘23’ take to the stage at the city’s Theatre Royal with a revival of 1970s favourite, which itself started life as a student production.

Godspell was first performed by drama students at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before moving to off-off-Broadway.

More than half a century later Winchester’s students bring down the curtain on their time at the University with this joyful take on the story of Jesus.

The book is by John-Michael Tebelak, who was inspired to devise the piece after attending a totally uninspiring Easter church service. By contrast, Tebelak’s vision was to share ‘God’s spell’ with the show’s audiences.

Tebelak produced the first version as his master’s thesis.

Based on St Matthew’s Gospel, the show is a series of parables interspersed with songs, mostly adapted from hymns, including big hit number ‘Day By Day’. Music and lyrics for the show were written by Stephen Schwartz, who went on write Wicked and the Prince of Egypt.

After transferring to Broadway in 1971, Godspell became a global success spawning many revivals and a 1973 film.

The University students will give four performances at the Theatre Royal on 19 and 20 May.

Thirty-eight students will appear on stage with the actors alternating between main roles and ensemble. The show is directed by Matt Lockitt with music direction by Teddy Clements and choreography by Christopher Matthews, all lecturers on the musical theatre programme.

Behind the scenes second and third year theatre production students will be working on sound, sets, lighting and stage management.

Godspell will be the first fully-staged student production at the Theatre Royal since the University of Winchester and arts and education charity Play to the Crowd announced their new strategic partnership in February. The University will become Play to the Crowd's Principal Education Investing Partner.

Evening shows start at 7.30pm and there will be a matinee at 1.30pm on the Friday and 2pm the following afternoon.

For more information follow

 Tickets are available from the theatre's website

Film production students from the University have made promotional trailers for the show. They can be seen here and here

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