Last Saturday evening, Canon PJ and I were invited to a première staged concert at Bay House School, Gosport, of a new musical currently in development. Written by Ken Shearsmith, with music by him and Joffy James, it is called Theophilus, based on the character referred to by St. Luke at the start of the Acts of the Apostles. It basically retells many of the events of Acts and is designed as a youth opera in the line of West End hits such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours. In Theophilus, the Gospel writer Luke is reunited with his patron Theophilus, describing how the Gospel has spread far and wide, yet not without many challenges along the way and some difficult questions such as how a good God can allow such suffering and how one can receive forgiveness and salvation. The musical comprises over 50 songs, many of which are truly catchy – I said to the composer afterwards that some would be great to sing at Mass or in Prayer and Praise. The event on Saturday was a trial sing-through before an invited audience, involving a cast of fifteen professional West End and Broadway singers and so it was top quality. There is now more work to do over the weeks ahead as the songs and stage-sets are designed for youngsters in schools and groups to take on. It was a great evening before a packed house, and the applause clearly shewed that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
Click here to listen to one of the many songs.