BIRTHDAY IN BETHLEHEM, A
By Patricia Kae Hill
Widely flexible cast. (Main roles for 7 m, 3 w, 5 boys, 4 girls. Additional roles for 2 m, 2 women. Numerous extras, 1 toddler, and an optional children’s choir.)
Script: 44 pages
What if Jesus had been born in your town? Rather than tell about the birth of Jesus from the traditional viewpoints of Joseph and Mary, this musical gives us a refreshingly different look from ordinary people who were there. A small group of adults and children befriend the holy family for more than a year, from helping them find the stable for the birth to a celebration for 15-month old baby Jesus, which turns into a bittersweet evening when the Wise Men warn them to flee. The story begins as Bethlehem prepares for visitors in “Company’s Coming” and we see travelers as they arrive in “Back to Bethlehem.” Before venturing on their quest, the Wise Men sing “Song of the Magoi” as they hope for fame, having discovered the birth of the Jewish Messiah. In the touching song, “Tiny Heartbeat,” Mary and a small ensemble express praise and wonder at the Savior’s birth. In Act II, the children want to celebrate Jesus’s first birthday, even if it was three months ago. So at the Feast of Dedication they give Jesus their gifts, followed by Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior, who also give gifts but warn that King Herod will harm Jesus. However, if you knew your time with Jesus was short and you had no gift good enough to give him, what would you do? Young Aaron sings “What Shall I Offer Him?” and kneels before Jesus to give his only belongings: his carpenter’s apron and a wooden mallet Joseph helped him make. Aaron also promises to love and serve his Lord. The musical ends with the company singing the uplifting “What We Have We Give.”
#1560 A Birthday in Bethlehem
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