What is this project?
This is the premiere cast recording of my dramatic musical about the life of Jesus Christ, titled: Son of Man. It is a little over two and a half hours long, and involves more than thirty world-class soloists, along with group vocalists, a large choir, full orchestra, and a number of ethnic instruments, all emotionally drawing us into that blessed Life who, two-thousand years ago, forever changed our world.
I plan to release the recorded music first.
Logistically, I intend to first record the entire production, and release it as two separate albums...Act 1 in the early spring, and Act 2 several months later. It is my intention to first build confidence in the public’s mind and heart of the majesty of this work. I want them to fall in love with the music and the telling of the story! And this will hopefully create in them a strong desire to attend the musical when it comes to the stage sometime after the release of the recorded music.
Why did I create Son of Man?
For the past thirty years, I have been writing and recording songs that point people to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I have focused the whole of my career on producing these inspirational works. Songs like “His Hands”, “Never a Better Hero”, “Greater Than Us All”, “Face to Face”, “Women at the Well”, “Broken”, “Gethsemane”, “Him, and Him Alone”, as well as many others have helped me fulfill what has felt like my life’s mission and purpose.
However, over the past seventeen years, I have slowly, but steadily, undertaken the creating of this musical project, Son of Man, because I have wanted to put forth a portrayal of Jesus Christ on the stage like I have never seen Him there before. I personally don’t feel like His real story has ever been told there, nor has He been depicted correctly or sufficiently so as to produce saving faith. For instance, in some national productions, the person of Jesus is represented in such a way so as to appear too unsure of Himself, too weak, too common, not divine enough, etc. Meanwhile, others have chosen to go completely the other way, so that when they put Christ on the stage, He is only there for a short moment, and only in an iconic way; we, the audience, mostly see Him from behind, or we only hear Him quoting a scripture in a sonically enhanced voice. From these latter approaches, Jesus comes across as being so different from everyone else around Him that He feels alien, and unapproachable. And for me, none of these illustrations of the Man Jesus will do. So, I have tried with Son of Man to create an image of Christ in flesh that represents His divinity and power, as well as His approachableness and humanity. In everything that is humanly good and right, we see Christ right there along side His associates. We see a Savior who loves, who finds joy in the human soul, who dances with His brothers (He was, after all, a Jew), and who makes the most out of His earthly experience. Meanwhile, He stands out as far superior and so much more of a man than anyone else alive. We see Him in His humility, but also in His boldness and strength. He is not afraid to raise His voice and cry out while He preaches, and yet He is always in control of who He is.
This musical is entirely sung. Therefore, Christ sings along with everyone else to communicate, to teach, to work His miracles, to pray, and to bless. It is a living, breathing Jesus Christ before us on the stage. And yet His wisdom, His manifestations of miraculous power, His overwhelming love, and the confidence of His teachings amaze the rest of humanity around Him. He is on the one hand like every man, and yet unlike any that has ever lived. This is the Jesus you will find in Son of Man.
Synopsis of the Story
The story begins in 67AD, more than thirty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. A lone figure is seen approaching the city of Jerusalem in the middle of the night. It is one of Jesus’ trusted and still-living apostles, John the Beloved, who has come to the Holy City to gather out the Christians who live there, and lead them away from the region. John prophetically senses an inevitable doom that will soon come upon the city. He has sent word ahead of him to trusted and strategically situated believers who are now waiting for him to arrive. The opening song: “We Leave at Dawn” surges with energy as John begins knocking on select doors within the city walls, and those disciples waiting inside begin to fan out across the city in order to gather all who have been alerted of the planned exodus.
Meanwhile, not far from where John began knocking on doors, a man is praying on his rooftop for the coming of the Messiah. This man, Judah (the only fictional character in the story), was once an associate and friend of John the Beloved, as they were both, in their younger years, disciples of John the Baptist. Judah, recognizing John in the moonlight, comes down off his roof to communicate with him. Their interaction reveals Judah’s lost faith, especially in Jesus as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. John the Beloved, hoping for one last chance to enlighten his friend, makes it known to Judah that he wishes he could tell him Jesus’ real story—the story Judah never knew because he turned away from Jesus years before. Judah is intrigued, and agrees to listen.
We flash back in time some 68 years earlier to a little town called Nazareth, where Mary, a teenager, is seen praying in private to God. From here, we watch the Christ story unfold from Jesus’ birth all the way past His death and resurrection, and on to where Jesus’ chosen apostles are being led away to martyrdom. They all disappear from the stage, except John the Beloved who is left testifying before the audience. He steps forward and suddenly we are back where we were at the beginning, Judah having just listened to John’s retelling of the remarkable story. Judah has to make a decision. Does he believe what he has just heard and felt? Does he believe it enough to leave behind all he knows and follow John’s prophetic leadership? Would you?
In the musical, there is a large cast that joins Christ on the stage: Mary of Nazareth (His mother), Gabriel the angel, Joseph the Carpenter, Shepherds, Angels, John the Baptist, a host of Israelites, Satan, evil spirits, John the Beloved and his brother James, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, other apostles, Nicodemus the Pharisee, other Pharisees, Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas the High Priest and members of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Roman soldiers, the fictional character Judah (who represents the views and attitudes of the Jewish people longing for their Messiah), and others.
For this premiere cast recording, I have assembled an amazing array of vocalists, almost every one of which hails from the musical theater world here in Utah. The unique flavor found in each of their voices, along with their highly developed gifts of lyrical expression add a rich, emotional power to the telling of the story of the Christ. They succeed in artfully drawing us into His world.
Things I Have Done Through the Creation Process
I felt that it would be useful for me to see the story of Jesus found in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) in harmony, in completeness, and in one continuous read. So I took those first four books of the Inspired version of the King James New Testament, along with a Gospel harmony, and prayerfully abridged those passages that overlapped or repeated in two or more of the four Gospels. The abridgment is divided into sections of the Lord’s life and work, as if in separate books: Prologue, Birth & Childhood, John the Baptist, Beginning of Miracles, First Judean Ministry, Galilean Ministry, etc. It has its own verse order that obviously could not correlate with the differing numbered verses in the Bible. As well, I’ve added some footnotes if they felt they would be helpful to me in defining the biblical terms or setting better. And while I make no claims that this abridgment is prophetic, or even perfect in its scholarship, it has been useful to me, as it was created for my sake alone, that I might be able to see the particular details of the story of Jesus unfold before me in a more complete, linear way.
Then, again, with much prayer, while reading through that abridgement of the gospel narrative, I wrote down notes, song ideas, and phrases that jumped out at me as most essential in telling the story of the Christ. I had to condense much, since it felt unwise to create a work that would last much more than two and a half hours in length. This meant I had to find the core message of Jesus’ life, and let that portion ring out “loud and clear.”
Seventeen years of writing, rewriting, sharing with others, refining, adding connective, musical dialog between the songs so that the story flowed and felt complete, hiring an amazing artist to create scenes of the events I had envisioned in my head…all this has brought Son of Man to this pivotal place in its journey.
For me, it has been a labor of love, and an exercise in patience, persistence, and humility. I have removed some of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever written (a difficult task for any creator) in order to keep the story short enough and moving along to its appointed ending. Through this entire process, I have come to understand Jesus better, love Him more ardently, and through my own suffering along the way, find fellowship with Him in this temporary world.
The Importance of This Work
To many people, Jesus is an icon only, not reachable, not tangible, but mysterious and ethereal. He’s a statue or a painting, but not flesh and blood. And while the statues and paintings are valuable as a reflection of His magnificence, they are not sufficient to produce the communion He desires with us. Yes, He deserves the honor, tribute, and glorious legacy they afford Him. However, for Jesus to truly have the power in us that He yearns for, we must remember that He came to earth as a Man. He ate and slept, worked and perspired. He loved His family and friends, as well as the many people He encountered. He experienced temptation and sickness, rejection and homelessness, hunger, thirst, and fatigue. He felt all that humanity feels. Eventually He suffered pain and agony beyond what any human being can endure, that He might redeem us from sin and rescue us from the grave. He descended into the human experience and came to fully comprehend us through the life He lived and the death He died.
What if our current world could better understand this Jesus? What if, through means of our modern, media-driven pop culture, a retelling of the Christ story appeared on the stage that both artistically and spiritually gave sharp focus and purpose to the life of the Man, Jesus? Would not such a marvelous result be worthy of every effort? Would it not be worth the personal cost? It has felt worth it to me.
Now, if I have proven myself to be a faithful ambassador of the love of God, and the salvation of Jesus Christ to the world…if you have ever been blessed in some specific way because my music has existed, whether it has brought you inspiration, peace, comfort, hope, or even a strengthening to your faith, I now appeal to you for your help. Join me in this endeavor. Help me finish what I started seventeen years ago. Help me present the real, approachable, flesh and blood, redemptive Jesus Christ to the world through Son of Man.
As far as costs go, to record a project this large in length and with this vast arsenal of musicians is almost like recording four solo albums…nearly 2 hours and 40 minutes of music, with full orchestra, a large 100+ voice choir, group vocals (for curious townspeople, courageous apostles, contentious Pharisees, believing multitudes, hostile crowds, etc.), ethnic wind instruments indigenous to the Middle East region, and over thirty vocal soloists…it is a massive undertaking!
Over the course of the creation of this project, I have been able to raise a little bit of funds, which have allowed me to do some preliminary recording. Portions of these recordings are now the finished tracks of some of the different cast members’ lead vocals. These several vocal tracks have been necessary in that they have provided me with a powerful way to demonstrate the emotional beauty of the music, as well as call attention to the world-class talent of the cast. And therefore, these few tracks have become a magnificent tool with which to generate a growing interest in Son of Man.
Now, however, in order to finish the rest of the vocals, and surround them with a lush and soaring orchestral score, additional funds are required. So, to complete the recording with excellence, the double album budget breakdown (158 minutes of recorded music) is as follows:
- Full Orchestra - $75,000
- Soloists, group vocals, and large choir - $25,000
- Studio Costs - $30,000
- Art Design Costs (album and web design) - $5,000
- CD & Art insert Duplication, 6000 units - $7,500
- Travel Costs (seeking wide scale distribution) - $2,000
- Kickstarter fees (8-10% of total raised) - $14,000 - 17,000
- Distribution of rewards - $8,500
TOTAL = $170,000
Any additional funds raised will allow me to prepare and print songbooks, hire artists to create additional art pieces that will become iconic to the Son of Man Musical, create beautiful storybooks with the lyrics of the songs (including scriptural insights and much of the artwork), and develop and execute a large scale marketing plan, all to help further Son of Man's presence in the world marketplace.
Who is this Son of Man?
The Bible tells us that at one point during Jesus' ministry, after He had told the people that He, the Son of Man, must be lifted up and die so He could draw all men unto Him, the people asked Him, saying: “We have heard that Christ abideth forever. How sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” It is my profound desire to answer that question through this production.
Risks and challenges
After this project is successfully funded, the only foreseeable obstacles will be getting everyone scheduled and into the studio in a timely manner so as to be able to deliver finished masters by early spring. But, Utah is rich with musical talent. I have been recording here for years, and the pool of competent musicians is deep and wide. As well, the recording studio - Platinum Sound and Mastering Labs (Bountiful, Utah) - is eager to help me finish this work. I also have an artistic design team and regional product distributor in place. So, funding is the next critical step.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)