Several cast albums have been released over the years with one of its songs, “Day by Day”, from the original cast album, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.
The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance.
The show is being produced and choreographed by Kathy Taylor, owner of the Dance Studio here in Beeville, co-produced by the Beeville Theater Arts and directed by James Dirks.
Dirks, having directed numerous plays here in the Beeville area, remembers his humble theater beginnings.
“I moved here in 2005, basically for the same reasons Kathy Taylor moved to Beeville.
“We’re both performers. She’s a dancer, and I’m in theater arts. Both of us came to Beeville to take care of our parents, and we ran into each other one day at the Berclair Mansion.
“Kathy and I have been doing a bunch of shows in Beeville since 2005. I did Godspell when I was fresh in town, and I didn’t know anybody, and it was a struggle.”
Taylor remembers when she went and saw Dirks’ first production of Godspell.
She said, “He had such a struggle trying to do it all on his own; he didn’t have any support.
“And I said, this guy, James Dirks, come hell or high water, he did it. With everything working against him, he did it.”
Dirks added, “Kathy one day called me and said, ‘James, let’s do Godspell again. Let’s do it the right way.’ And I said ‘I’m in; let’s do it.’”
Taylor, having performed all over the world and having lived in New York for six years, knows a thing or two about the performing arts.
Her last big project was the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
“My ultimate goal is to just bring theater arts to Beeville, because there has to be something for this town,” Taylor said.
“There’s so many talented people here. I own the Dance Studio, and there’s so much talent that comes to my studio, so they need something to do; they need projects.
“So, we’re not waiting for anything; we’re just doing it.”
Dirks, a Houston native, has been involved in theater arts his whole life and has acted in, as well as directed, many of his plays.
He remembered, “When I first moved here and we did this first show, I couldn’t find anyone to play any of the parts.
“I’m glad Kathy came along to help, so I can just direct it and not be in it.”
It’s also the debut for the newly-formed Beeville Theater Arts group which is co-producing the musical.
The Beeville Theater Arts’ goal is basically to get people of all ages into the performing and visual arts.
“Kathy’s already got the school going with various types of classes that people can sign up for now.”
“The kids are hungry; they want something. And there’s so few people willing to dedicate themselves to do it.
“Let’s face it. No one’s getting paid at the end of the day. It’s a lot of work, so you really have to have a serious passion for it.”
So, with the wait for a performing arts studio outside of the high schools and colleges, Taylor and Dirks are getting ready themselves and not waiting around.
Dirks said, “We’re friends of the Rialto Theater, so when we open the doors, we’ll already have the talent pool ready for their productions to go right away.”
Kathy added, “I’ve been producing productions out of my studio for the past five years.
“If there was a theater, I mean the artistic directors are right here, choreography and everything.
“My studio is growing fast.”
“We’ve had great support from the Beeville community,” Dirks said. “A.C. Jones High School and Coastal Bend College have given us lots of support.”
Godspell will open Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Gertrude R. Jones Fine Arts Auditorium at the Coastal Bend College campus.
Performances will follow that weekend on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 26, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Beeville Theater Arts is also seeking donations, sponsors and any other help in order to keep the plays coming and the public entertained.
To make donations or to find out more about future productions, call the Dance Studio at (361) 354-5999.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.