Musical’s then-unknown cast featured future stars like Martin Short, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and Victor Garber in a production that ignited the cultural and comedic Revolution of the last half-century. 

(New York– March 13, 2024) Today, Nick Davis Productions and Apatow Productions announced that shooting has begun on the first-ever-feature-length documentary about the influential 1972 Toronto production of the musical Godspell and its remarkable legacy.  The film will trace how a cast of virtual unknowns in a musical based on the life of Jesus lit the spark of a cultural explosion whose effects are still being felt today.  The documentary, produced and directed by Nick Davis, and executive produced by Judd Apatow, will include interviews with all the surviving cast members, and is slated for release in 2025.

“As a bona fide comedy nerd,” said Judd Apatow, “I’ve long wondered what exactly brought that amazing group of people together to produce not just a fantastic theatrical event, but what came after: Second City Toronto, SCTV, and of course Saturday Night Live – not to mention a host of movies and TV from Splash to The Three Amigos to Schitt’s Creek and Only Murders in the Building.  None of that would have happened in the way that it did without the Toronto Godspell.”

Long a well-known cultural landmark among comedy and theater aficionados, the Toronto Godspell production of the Stephen Schwartz-written musical was the first-ever professional job for college friends Martin Short and Eugene Levy, and marked early professional highlights in the careers of Gilda Radner, Victor Garber (who played Jesus), Don Scardino, musical director Paul Shaffer, Jayne Eastwood, and future SCTV stars Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas.  Collectively, members of Toronto’s Godspell production would go on to be nominated for over 40 Emmys, winning 3 Oscars, 9 Emmys, 6 Grammys and 3 Tony Awards. Four have also been awarded the Order of Canada.

Making extensive use of never-before seen footage, unique personal archives, audio recordings Short made of the musical itself, as well as intimate gatherings where the young cast drank, partied, and fell in love, the film will detail the incredible ferment of creativity in Toronto in those years, as the group’s friends also included future comedy legends John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Aykroyd and his comedy partner Valri Bromfield, and Harold Ramis.

“The audio tapes will help bring this extraordinary moment to life,” Nick Davis said.  “It was truly like a kind of Paris in the 20s of the comedy revolution that was to come, and listening to these tapes is like being a fly on the wall when history is being made.  And it was so unexpected!  Who would have thought that so much divinely inspired comedy would come from this one production of a musical about the life of Jesus – in Toronto?”

The production itself was supposed to play for only a handful of weeks, but was such a smash hit that it was extended and ended up running for over a year and a half, during which time Martin and Levy became original members of Second City Toronto, and Garber left to star in the feature film of Godspell.  When Toronto native Lorne Michaels was hired a couple years later to create a new late-night comedy show on NBC, the first person he cast was an actress he’d first seen in Godspell: Gilda Radner.  The comedy revolution was on and the wall that existed between the entertainment industry in the US and Canada itself was forever shattered.

Godspell, written by John-Michael Tebelak with music by Stephen Schwartz, is a musical based on the Gospel of Matthew, and has run almost continuously worldwide since its debut at NYC’s La Mama off-Broadway theater in 1971.

The documentary is written by Davis and Jane Mendelsohn. Davis, Sue Turley of XRM Media and Tom Powers of Open Door Co. will produce alongside Executive Producers Apatow, Stephanie Hannon, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley.

CAA and UTA are handling worldwide sales.

Davis is represented by CAA.


NICK DAVIS (Director/Co-Writer/Producer) is currently Executive Producing a film for Netflix about the 2004 Boston Red Sox. His last film, Once Upon a Time in Queens, aired on ESPN’s 30 for 30. Among his other films are Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived for PBS and American Masters and CBS’s Emmy-Award winning Jack: The Last Kennedy Film. He wrote and directed the dark comedy 1999 starring Dan Futterman, Amanda Peet, Jennifer Garner, Stephen Wright, and Buck Henry. Other production highlights from Nick Davis Productions’ 75+ hours of programming: a Bravo Profile of the actor Gene Wilder, and A&E’s New York At The Movies, hosted by Meryl Streep. His recent book about his family, Competing with Idiots: Herman and Joe Mankiewicz, A Dual Portrait, was published by Knopf and short-listed for the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography.


JUDD APATOW (Executive Producer) is one of the most prolific comedic minds in the industry. Upcoming, Apatow Executive Produced Peacock’s Stormy Daniels documentary, Stormy, premiering March 18. Recently, Apatow produced Peacock’s buddy comedy Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain and Universal’s romcom, Bros, starring and co-written by Billy Eichner. Apatow also directed, produced, and co-wrote with Pam Brady, the Netflix comedy The Bubble and produced and co-directed HBO Films’ Emmy®-winning documentary George Carlin’s American Dream with Michael Bonfiglio. Previous director credits include the Emmy®-award-winning documentary, The Zen Diaries of Garry ShandlingThe 40-Year-Old VirginKnocked Up and The King of Staten Island. He produced Academy Award®-nominated The Big Sick and Bridesmaids, as well as, SuperbadPineapple Express and Anchorman. For television, he executive produced CrashingGirls, and Freaks and Geeks. Off screen, Apatow authored Sicker in the Head, a follow-up to his New York Times best-seller Sick in the Head.