Beth Mann's Blog

Beth's Urban Tales of Wonder and Decay

Beth Mann

Beth Mann
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, USA
November 11
Hot Buttered Media
I'm a writer and creative consultant. I have years of experimental comedy and strange theater under my belt. I surf. I cook. I love wine, men and song. And puppies. I effin' love puppies.

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FEBRUARY 19, 2009 3:07PM

I'll Never Be in Godspell Again

Rate: 25 Flag

I’ll never be in Godspell again. I’m sitting here, on a rainy afternoon at the Jersey shore, listening to Day by Day from the 1970’s musical Godspell and crying when I really should be working. I’m on my 5th listen.

I was in Godspell in college. It was my second or third play ever. I was ecstatic to be in it. It was a musical! I got to sing and dance! How much better does it get than that? And not only that, I was chosen to sing Day by Day! The best song in the show. The best one! (Though I secretly wanted to sing By My Side too.)

I sang Day by Day proudly, using sign language (for the two deaf people that showed up for the one month run of the show.) I still remember how to sign that damn song. Whenever I meet someone deaf or even hearing impaired, apropos of nothing, I start signing Day by Day, Oh dear Lord, three things I pray” and they think I’m a religious fanatic or just a nut.

The only thing that marred my joyous little performance was a run-in I had with Jesus. Glenn. Glenn Funkhauser. Yep. That was his name. I haven’t thought about that name in years. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning but I remember Glenn Funkhauser’s name…interesting. Anyway, he played Jesus and he was a haughty, self-involved diva of a Jesus. He gave a Jesus a bad name.

At the end of each show, we re-enacted the Last Supper, where we said goodbye to our fair leader. It was a very teary climax and we just loved it. As college kids studying theater, we were just teeming with emotion, so earnest. Our emotional cup runneth over.

So Jesus would walk up to each one of us, tap us on the back, we’d rise and have our own personal heartfelt goodbye with the Lord Jesus Christ, Glenn Funkhauser.

On one particularly emotional night, I leapt up and hugged him with all of my might, crying my little eyes out. He whispered in my ear, “Don’t anticipate. You got up before I tapped you on the shoulder.”

I could have died. Jesus just critiqued me during my most vulnerable moment ever! I wanted to deck  the Lord right then and there. How dare he direct me in the middle of a show?! Who did he think he was? God?

After the show, I went up to Glenn “Jesus” Funkhauser and told him to kiss my ass hard. I was livid! I felt spiritually violated.

But other than that, Godspell was a sweet memory during a sweet time. And I’ll never be in it again. I’ll never sing Day by Day again in front of a restless audience. (If you say I could be in the show again if I wanted, you’re missing the point. It was that time, that energy, that opportunity, those people - even that diva of a Jesus. It was that beautiful little glory.)

One actor came up to me after a show one night and said something about “goose bumps” when I sang my song. I thought he meant I gave him goose bumps but he clarified before I gushed too much. He said, “No, you give yourself goose bumps when you sing that song. I can see them all over your arms. I’m standing right next to you.” I wasn’t as flattered but I knew he was right. It’s not every day you get to sing to God so simply, with all of your heart. Oh, time is so stupidly precious.

Time for a 6th listen. I haven’t sobbed the memory out of me yet. I don’t get paid for this melancholy, man.

To Glenn Funkhauser, wherever you are: I hope you know that I'm a practicing Satanist because of you. I eat kittens now, Glenn, kittens!

Day by Day
Day by Day
Oh Dear Lord, three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by Day

Many of the original cast members, with Robin Lamont singing (4 of the 10 have died):

Cilla Black (she's great but I like Lamont better for this song.)


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Hah! This was so funny, Beth. I feel the same way about Camelot, and I was only in the chorus. Only our Arthur was much nicer than your Jesus. In your honor, Day by Day will be playing on the soundtrack in my head for at least the next couple of hours...great piece!
thanks for prompting some great memories of college theater..."and I shall call the pebble 'Dare'"...
All I can say is Jesus H. Christ this is hilarious and poignant,too.
I sure hope a lot of people tell old Glen his satanic behavior has been exposed all these years later on OS.
I have to say, I am not a fan of musicals in general (and sadly, this one specifically). That being said, I completley related to you! I have worked with more than my fair share of Funkhausers on stage, and they always suck the fun out of the room. Eat those kittens!
What a great story. I know exactly what you mean about reliving the earnestness of the college years. Like so many musicals, Godspell is overwrought and melodramatic. Perfect for teenagers! And Day by Day is a beautiful song.
Acted in "Godspell twice," directed it once. And that's "Alias" star Victor Garber playing Jesus in the first clip.
This was smart and funny. Funky Punkschnauser would have been beaten bloody where I grew up for an attitude like that.

BTW, do you have any good kitten recipes? I get tired of Chinese food and can't find anything on the net.
I went to Catholic girls school during the 70s, so I well know the allure of Day by Day...ideally sung on some retreat led by a distant but gorgeous young priest and his side kick the reformed acid freak.

In elementary school, it was all about Jesus Christ Superstar...I loved singing the castrati prophesee parts.
This was hilarious. =o) I suppose it would really have changed the plot if a disciple had decked Jesus at the last supper. But anyone who can turn Jesus Christ into a Diva desesrves no less. Rated.
Hilarious. That Jesus--what a tool. Oh, and signing the lyrics to
Day by Day every time you see a deaf person? Every time I see or hear French people, I'm almost overwhelmed with the impulse to say to them, "Avez vous un ami dans la classe de francais?" ("Do you have a friend in the French class?")

Myself, I was in love with my own (mirror) performance of I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar. I did the half-closed eyes and whiny angst and, hairbrush in hand, thought I was all that.
This is so funny and poignant!
Holy crap that really is Victor Garber! Wow. I'm using the word wow here.
Like Cindy, I too had to Google him. Conspicuous lack of hits unless, of course, he happened to be into birds in 1980. I actually kind of try to keep my name off the web and I'm still out there. So he apparently went on to be extremely boring.
I hear kittens are good with fava beans. Jesus gave me the recipe, so you won't need to worry about being critiqued for eating a healthy plate full.

Rated for the detestable know it alls we all know and hate.
I love musicals but have never seen Godspell. If I'd known you were in it and where, I'd have come. Maybe you could come here and sing me the song. I'd applaud wildly, as I am doing for this hilarious post.
Jesus: The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the only light you have is darkness, the darkness will be doubly dark.

Wonderful post! I too, was in Godspell in college, Mlle Mann: Judas.
hee hee hee I love the whole post. Mean Glenn Funkhauser (what a name!)
I hope you told him to go"funkhauser himself". You brought back lots of memories......
Victor Garber, wow. I had no idea. I have Beautiful City on my iPod. I'm going to add his name to the info.

Great post btw! Loved the part about eating kittens!
"I could have died. Jesus just critiqued me during my most vulnerable moment ever! I wanted to deck the Lord right then and there. How dare he direct me in the middle of a show?! Who did he think he was? God?"

Thank you for that laugh-out-loud moment. (My monitor will eventually recover with therapy and the judicious application of cleaning solution).

Let the sun shine!
LMAO! THIS IS HILARIOUS! Firstly, let me say I am SO SORRY that such an ass pulled that on you and ruined such a precious moment. I am currently in rehearsal for Godspell and we have the absolute BEST Jesus we could imagine. He has coaxed emotions and nuances out of me that I wasn't sure I had in me (which is rather important as I am playing Judas). We have such a great moment on stage during the betrayal scene, but as I am backstage singing "On the Willows" I simply cannot watch the goodbye scene because I choke up and cannot finish my song. I'm sorry somebody ruined it for you, but it sounds like you ACED IT!!! I have printed this blog and am going to share it at rehearsal tonight because it made me laugh so friggin hard, but it DOES have a salient point to it...however, I think Mr. Pukehauser could have handled it MUCH better. YOU ROCK, Beth!!! But leave my cats alone, Luv. :-) Happy Valentine's Day and thanks again for the huge laugh!