Hunter Parrish, who plays the eldest son of a marijuana-dealing mother on the hit Showtime series “Weeds,” will play Jesus in the Broadway reproduction of “Godspell.”
“I am elated to be joining the ‘Godspell’ family, and honored to be a part of bringing this thrilling classic back to Broadway,” said Parrish in a release.
“Godspell,” which originally opened on Broadway in May 1971, is described as a rock musical and is a take on the Gospel of Matthew through the music of composer Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz is also the composer of popular musicals such as “Wicked” and “Pippin,” and has won both Grammy and Academy Awards for his work.
The producer for the upcoming production, Ken Davenport, announced Parrish's part in the lead role on Wednesday.
“I knew after meeting with the creative team that I was going to be a part of something really exciting,” Parrish said. “I can't wait to get started.”
Parrish is not unfamiliar with Broadway, having played the character of Melchior in the musical “Spring Awakening,” a Tony Award-winning play.
He has also played in movies alongside acting notables such as Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin (“It's Complicated”), Ryan Reynolds (“Paper Man”), and Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey (“Freedom Writers”). In 2005, he won a Los Angeles Method Fest Award for Best Actor for his part in Melissa Painter's “Steal Me.”
In addition to “Weeds,” Parrish appeared as a guest star on television shows including “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Law & Order: SVU,” and “Close to Home.”
In the “Weeds” series, Parrish plays Silas Botwin, a young, good-looking boy who joins his mother's drug-dealing “business,” a far cry from his new role as a modern-day Son of God incarnate.
Stephen Schwartz says that “Godspell” began at Carnegie-Mellon University as a project for director John-Michael Tebelak. Tebelak had originally thought of becoming an Episcopal minister before he chose to pursue a career in theater instead.
After sitting in on an Easter service in Pittsburgh, one that he felt lacked excitement and joy, Tebelak began working on the musical, which originally included a number of Episcopal hymns. As the play's popularity grew, however, Schwartz was approached to help take it to the next level.
“They became interested in giving the show a commercial production at an off-Broadway theatre,” Schwartz said. “At that time, I was contacted by the producers, who had heard me audition my score for ‘Pippin,’ and I signed on to write music and new lyrics.”
“Godspell” originally ran for over 2,600 performances and was even adapted into a movie by the same name in 1973. Though Parrish was just announced as the lead role for the reproduction, tickets for the show are already on sale.
Addressing his fans through his Twitter account on Wednesday, Parrish simply posted “Boo-yah! Who's coming??” along with a link to a “Playbill” article about his role in the musical.