What if “Godspell” (by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak) and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (by Andrew Lloyd Webber) had been based on feminist theologies? What if those songs performed in high school musicals reflected the work of a generation of feminist scholars in religion? What if the catchy tunes that stick in peoples’ heads and form unconscious images of the divine were based on equality and concern for Earth? What if the work that so many colleagues in feminist studies seek to write down, teach, and even blog were on stage in lyrics and dance? Why not?
The opening musical number of “Biblical Girl” is entitled “Made in the Image,” a duet between equally plucky Lilith and Eve, Adam’s first two wives. Eve croons that in the Garden of Eden everything was fine. Then, “something I ate set fire to my imagination.”
The musical goes on through biblical characters including Sarah and Hagar, Ruth, Hannah, Jezebel, and Noah’s wife known as Thelma. For example Noah’s success is credited to Thelma, who kept the boat afloat and the animals happy. Junia, Mary, and Martha show up with their various tales. The “Ave Maria Waltz” features a gutsy Mary whose words to the rich and powerful in Luke 1 really heat up around verse 50. This woman is no chalky-faced blue-garbed statue but a powerful proponent for those who are poor and dispossessed.
Read the whole review here.
Meet the characters portrayed here.