“The culmination of this event in history was, of course, a world-changing revolution of the most potent kind. Rock ’n’ roll is the anthem of revolution, so that entirely supports this kind of passionate musical expression in our show.” — NEIL BERG The 12 will now join a genre of popular Biblical rock musicals of widely different tones, including Superstar, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (coming to The Buell Theatre April 22 – 26) and Children of Eden. “I think The 12 is a different, great addition to that group,” Berg said. “Because the characters are all trapped in one room this story is intense from the beginning. You’re in it. And the music reflects that.” Schenkkan, who also wrote the 2014 Tony-winning best play All the Way, loves Superstar and Godspell, but those musicals are far more stylized than The 12, he said. “This is a more natural and thoughtful approach to the material,” he said. “Our approach is much less sensational. And, I think, more powerful because of it.” It was Schenkkan’s decision not to use Jesus’ name in The 12, and he did it for two reasons. First, like so many details in the Jesus story, we can’t be sure about this but it is unlikely in Jewish society at that time that his followers would have addressed him using his name as that would have been considered disrespectful. More likely he would have been called an honorific like, “teacher” or “Rabbi.” Second, it was done to remove a possible barrier between the story and its potential audience. “The phrase ‘Jesus the Lord’ is so loaded in terms of what it will later come to mean,” Schenkkan said. “By taking the name out of the equation, it puts the focus back on the immediacy of this very human story. “The tendency of the audience will be to look at this event with the weight of 2,000 years of bitterly contested doctrine, and everything that comes with that. We are trying to strip all of that away and say, ‘Wait a minute: What if you were one of these fishermen on the sea of Galilee, and this guy you might have heard something about comes up to you and says, ‘Follow me.’ And for reasons that are not clear even to you in that
moment, you do, because there is something about him that compels you. What does that mean? It is kind of unfathomable.” Berg adds, “When the head of this revolutionary group is suddenly killed, what makes these followers continue on?” Still, Schenkkan understands why potential audiences may feel some trepidation about what is for now a theatrical unknown. “Oftentimes, unfortunately, when writers have dealt with issues of faith, it’s hard not to feel that there is some condescension there. Some smugness. Some superiority,” Schenkkan said. “That’s unacceptable, quite honestly. I think it’s prejudice. “We have tried very seriously to get at this fundamental question of belief and commitment to something which cannot ultimately be proved in rational, scientific terms. And to me, that is a very exciting, dramatic proposition: How does one get there? We have all experienced a dark night of the soul. A time where everything we have believed in whether it is a religious expression or an idea or a cause has failed us. And we have to find a way to go forward. To recover our faith and our belief. That’s at the heart of what we are trying to do here. And it’s why I believe that all of our audience — including members of all various faith-based communities — will find this a story that is not only accessible and respectful, but also very compelling.” Read John Moore’s expanded interviews with Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan on our DCPA NewsCenter at denvercenter.org/news-center.
THE 12 MAR 27 – APR 26 STAGE THEATRE ASL interpreted, Audio described & Open captioned performance: Apr 26, 1:30pm Tickets: 303.893.4100 | denvercenter.org 800.641.1222 | TTY: 303.893.9582 Groups (10+): 303.446.4829
Ace Young as Joseph and Diana DeGarmo as Narrator in “Jacob & Sons” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Photo by Daniel A. Swalec.
COMING UP FROM BROADWAY:
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Described as one of the most enduring musicals of all time, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (playing The Buell Theatre April 22 - 26) has gotten a facelift. The history of the show dates back to the first Broadway performance in 1982. The success of the show spurred the Broadway revival in 1993 and made its way into the homes and hearts of viewers with the movie version of Joseph starring Donny Osmond in 1999. The revamped show starring newlyweds and “American Idol” veterans Ace Young (Grease, Hair) and Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, Hair) features the same upbeat, feel-good vibe Joseph fans know and love, but with a modern twist. Director, choreographer and Tony-winner Andy Blankenbuehler paces the story with high-energy choreography and highflying footwork with a hip-hop feel sure to have the audience dancing along. So put on your dance shoes and join us for one of musical theatre’s most enduring hits.