Greenwood students present ‘Godspell’

Though it first that hit the stage more than 50 years ago, the musical “Godspell” has a way of speaking to a new generation of youths.

From the first scene on, the production captures the chaos that kids today deal with.

“This updated version really brought it into today’s world, where all of the distractions and things we listen to, we sometimes forget about what it is to just be a good human,” said Jennifer Simms, director of the Greenwood Community High School production of the musical.

Greenwood students hope to showcase the power of “Godspell” to the community during a special run Thursday through Sunday. The musical tells the story of Jesus Christ through the biblical book of Matthew, using eight non-biblical characters to act out and sing the parables.

The hope is to allow the audience to see a familiar story through a new perspective.

“Everybody knows these stories, even if you don’t read the Bible or go to church — you know the stories that we’re presenting,” Simms said. “But we’re going to do it in a way that’s fresh and fun, and maybe you’ll look at it in a different way, and take something away about how you treat the people around you.”

“Godspell” debuted in 1971, moving from a drama classroom project to an off-Broadway production to a Broadway smash, eventually spawning a film version as well. A revival of the show was created in 2012, featuring updated storytelling and music, which is the version Greenwood students have tackled.

For Simms, the musical has special meaning.

“When I was their age, this was the first show I ever did. I remember it taught me a lot of life lessons at their age, about being a good person and how to treat people,” she said. “It was a real-world story. It wasn’t the religion of it, it was the story and the lessons, and that was important to me as a non-religious kid.”

With a small cast of 16 kids, “Godspell” offered those involved the opportunity to dig into the themes and messages of the musical in a deeper way.

The cast has also learned more about themselves as performers.

“Participating in the musical this year has given me the chance to discover new things about myself and the people around me,” Madi Williams, a Greenwood sophomore and cast member, said in a press release. “I feel like we all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones a little bit to truly know where our passions lie, mine are in singing, dancing, and acting so the musical is perfect for me.”

The show will be held in the Greenwood Community High School auditorium, with performances planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee planned on Sunday. Special group pricing for local groups and churches is available for the Sunday afternoon show.

Tickets are $15 for preferred seating, $12 for adults and $8 for students, and can be purchased online at or in the high school music offices.