I had to look. I actually did it…I sat at my old roll-top desk and clicked the back-button on the calendar on my well-worn Mac, traveling all the way back through the years to 1953. That was the first time I appeared before an audience. It was a small crowd, but my debut was well-received. I’m told that I could wail.
It used to be a very long time from Halloween to Christmas. Turns out it has always been the same number of days as now. At least it has been for as long as I’ve been around. However, this year, Thanksgiving falls later than usual…on the 28th. What that means is, from Thanksgiving to Christmas is going to feel like that bobsled event in the Olympics.
So…if you don’t want to to miss our new Christmas musical, Rhapsody of Angels, as we all plummet toward Christmas together, you need to grab your friends and family and come. We still have some seats this weekend, but the final three weekends are starting to fill up pretty fast. Please try to make it. I really want you to see this one.
My perspective is a little different this time around. It has been different since long before I first started writing the play a few months back. I had begun working on a book back in the summer of 2017 that will eventually be called Family of God. The Archangel Gabriel is the narrator of that story, and the story you will see presented in Rhapsody of Angels is essentially a musical adaptation of the first part of that yet unfinished book.
My intention two years ago was to write the book, and then write the musical. It didn’t work out quite like that. About ten chapters in, I stopped to write the little novella adaptation of our musical, Say Nicklaase, A Great & Wonderful Christmas Story, and to record the Hands of a Carpenter CD. After that it was time to do all the final preparation for the summer 2018 release of the novel, The Undeniable Possibility. Before I got back to work on Family of God, I ended up writing The Psalmist and then Elijah, Clash of the Prophets.
So here I was this past August, two years later, with those first ten chapters gathering dust, and the deadline looming to write the musical adaptation of a book I had yet to finish.
Spending time re-reading those beginning chapters, and re-aquainting myself with Gabriel and Michael was interesting. The words were fresh to me, almost as though someone else had written them, as I read the story presented from Gabriel’s perspective. Envisioning him and Michael as they stood before the throne of God to receive the news that Holy God the Son, by His own choice, was going leave the glory of Heaven to be born in the world as a vulnerable human child, in order to reconcile God and man, I was struck again by the selfless enormity of that act.
I loved writing the play and the music, even though it really put me through the creative wringer. As always happens, I was completely surprised by the unanticipated turns the story took. I was carried along, thinking about the connection we have with those magnificent beings that we never see, and never know are gathered about us. My fascination was rekindled, thinking about their commitment to protecting us in ways we cannot imagine…the reality of their presence in our lives now, and all they have seen and experienced through their connection to mankind from the beginning.
I didn’t know that I would end up playing the role of Gabriel. Glenn had hoped that he would be able to lure the incredibly gifted actor and singer Travis Burge back to Ragtown to do the part. Travis did such an amazing job of the role of Satan in Bethlehem last Christmas. When that didn’t work out, we looked at several alternatives, but Glenn and I eventually decided that it might be a special thing for the two of us to do this together. And it has proved to be a very special experience…at least for us. We’re told it has been for the audience who have attended as well.
Michael and Gabriel are presented as brothers who deal with one another…well, like brothers.
Writing, and now performing in this production of Rhapsody of Angels has inspired me to dive back in and get Family of God finished as soon as I can. Hopefully folks will be interested to know the rest of the story when the book does eventually come out. With lots of irons in the fire, only the Lord knows when that will be, but I’m committed to showing up here at the old roll-top, ready to work on whatever the Lord puts in front of me to do, knowing that His hands will be all over it. I really believe that was the case with the words and songs of Rhapsody of Angels. I hope you will agree when you see it.
It ends on the 15th of December, and we won’t have shows Thanksgiving weekend, so come as soon as you can!