The Pitch

The book of Matthew, with singing and funny voices.

Age Recommendations

Watch With the Kids: 5+

Content Advisories

Rated G. The rock ’n’ roll chain-link fence “crucifixion” can be intense for small children. In this telling of the story, the resurrection of Jesus is metaphorical; he isn’t seen rising from the dead. The sight of the the World Trade Center (featured prominently) may trigger a variety of feelings in parents.

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04.08.13

We don't need alabaster, we don't need chrome.

There was period of my childhood in which I believed that Jesus was Victor Garber with an afro and rainbow pants. Godspell’s vision of Christianity—a band of hippie kooks cavorting around a deserted Manhattan, acting out stories and singing songs—seemed idyllic, even to a kid being raised in the already fairly cheery Lutheran church. My 9-year-old loves the goofy, slapstick retelling of New Testament parables. I’m guessing that, like me at that age, he loves imagining that adults could just hang out and tell each other stories all day. And I appreciate that he’s absorbing some degree of biblical literacy delivered without dogma. Godspell captures aspects of the 1970s for which we parents of a certain age are nostalgic: the unstructured, unsupervised play that inspired the “free-range kids” movement, girls dressing in corduroy pants instead of princess tulle and glitter shirts, and a willingness to accept actors with frizzy hair and bad skin. The people are real, a little scruffy, not conventionally good-looking (though a young Lynn Thigpen is radiant, may she rest in peace). —Christa Dahlstrom

Edited & designed by Chris Ereneta. Suggestions, feedback, and rants welcome at watchwiththekids@gmail.com, @WatchWithKids, or on Facebook. More about this site.