Sunday, April 18, 2010

YouTube - Godspell - 04 - Joanne Jonas - Turn Back, O Man!

Jesus Is Just Alright, Dept.

At the same time that I have a nostalgic semidemiquasi-affection for parts of Godspell's score, I also understand why people hate hippies.

And I never understood Jesus as a clown. I mean, what the fuck was up with that? All those grammar school nuns who waxed wroth or wrothed wax at Jesus Christ Superstar had clearly spent their fury by the time this made it to the silver screen.

"Turn Back, O Man" is, at least on record, a cute number. The Mae West-ish asides mark it as a Nostalgia Era production, you know, from that period between the late '60s and mid '70s when the styles, music and films of the '30s and '40s informed a substantial segment of contemporary pop culture. The hippie Imogene Coca who performs it here is heavy on the whimsy, light on the sexy, in contrast to the vivacious but nameless teen from a nearby all-girls high school who pitched in on my all-boys high school's production. There was plenty of lap-sitting as she made her way up the center aisle during her performance of the number. It was like Joey Heatherton entertaining the troops in Viet Nam. Only an order of magnitude more fraught with forcibly suppressed sexual tension.

And if you call within the next 30 minutes, you can enjoy the following number, my other Godspell favorite and another Nostalgia Era throwback that reeks of Rudy Vallee crooning through a megaphone to ukulele accompaniment, "All for the Best.

The film adaptation of Godspell is, at best, weirdly entertaining; at worst, twee and misconceived. But it does offer top-notch footage of NYC's cityscape ca. 1972, particularly the latter number, wherein New York's streets and skyline are more the star than the film's protagonists.

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