Friday, October 14, 2011

The Godspell According to Us

This theater blog started in April with news that I had become a Broadway producer for the munificent sum of $1,000, courtesy of real Broadway producer Ken Davenport's decision to open up the process for his revival of Godspell. Six months later, I am about to become part of a flash mob in Times Square to support the show.

Solange and Jesus on Broadway
To tell the truth, the sweet earnestness of Godspell was never my cup of tea (sorry, Stephen Schwartz); I usually preferred a drier drink. But nobody else on Broadway was inviting me to this particular kind of dance, so I decided to sign up and, once invested, naturally had a stake in seeing this show succeed.

Couple of weeks ago, about 100 of us investors gathered at the Circle on the Square theater to hear Ken update us on the production just before previews began. (Opening night is Nov. 7.)

The show was just in the process of moving into the theater - note all the boxes onstage and the shop vac at left of the photo below. Ken, wearing his red Godspell hat, shared some of director Danny Goldstein's concept for the show. Ken asked us not to reveal the secrets of some production effects (Jesus will walk on water), but it doesn't seem too outrageous to say that Goldstein's idea is that the cast will be a group that happens to wander into an old Broadway theater.

Ken talked about the sound design challenges in a theater in the round and the location of the band, as well as what some audience members might be doing as part of the show. The production's budget is about $5 million, a number that's been publicly announced, and there are about 600 small investors. I asked if it was the small investors who put it over the top (a planned revival in 2009 never got off the ground due to lack of financing), but Ken responded that we were all "people of Godspell," which is his term for the investment group.    

Ken Davenport updates his fellow producers on the Broadway revival of Godspell

The poster I'm holding, above, was among the promotional items available at our meeting.

In the six months since April, Ken has kept a daily blog of the show's progress, detailing the many steps a producer takes to get a show to Broadway.

In a way, I've felt oddly detached from the experience, but also deeply part of it. Detached because for me, whether I'm directing a show or reviewing it, I'm directly involved. That's what I love about theater, it's in-person. But Ken has done something historic here. The world of Broadway producers can be pretty small and only open to those with serious money. He's invited us in and let us watch over his shoulder.

So, tomorrow (you thought I'd forgotten), there's going to be a flash mob event in Times Square. On a Saturday, I'm going to get up in time to be at a rehearsal studio by 9 am. And I'm going to make a fool of myself at the Crossroads of the World. Maybe a holy fool.


  1. Great to read your post! Have you seen the show yet?

  2. Not yet! Maybe I'll try my luck at one of the lotteries!