Born This Day (in the City of David)


This musical is a variation on Gloria Emmerich’s show entitled Heaven Came Down. Several similar key scenes are used in both musicals but much of the content and several major characters are different. The publishers suggest that you read both scripts and see which musical suits your casting options best. A major difference between this musical and Heaven Came Down is with regard to the leading characters of Reumah and Homer. This fun loving couple serve as both comic relief and narrators in the story. They also happen to be the innkeepers in Bethlehem which gives them a unique perspective.

Other principle and supporting characters in Born this Day include Mary and Joseph, Mary’s sister Chloe, Anna and Joachim (Mary’s parents), Gabriel, as well as Mary’s Aunt Elizabeth, and her doting husband Zechariah.  

The story begins with the cast singing the beautiful opening number entitled “A Night of Glory.” The entire cast is on stage.The opening lyrics set up the story perfectly:

    A tiny village; a lonely stable;

    No one suspected that God was able.

    Born in a manger in Bethlehem;

    A star from Heaven shines down upon Him. . .

As the song ends Mary and Joseph greet the innkeepers and exit along with everyone except Reumah, the innkeeper’s wife. Reumah sits on her porch and begins to tell the wonderful story of that special night long ago in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph arrived; cold, hungry, and very much in need of a room. Homer, the innkeeper, enters and begins to “help” Reumah tell the story. Their annoyance with each other is amusing. She continues by sharing with the audience the story of how Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to be the mother of God’s Son. When Reumah has had enough “help” telling the story she suggests that perhaps Homer would like to go spend some time cleaning the filthy stable behind their house. Reluctantly Homer exits with all but a swift kick from his loving wife.  

In the next scene we meet Mary’s fiery sister, Chloe. The two have slipped away from Mary and Joseph’s betrothal party. Chloe is only a year younger than Mary and feigns being upset because Mary is getting married to “the man of her dreams” and she has no prospects for herself. Joseph has promised to meet Mary in the garden so they can have some time alone together. Soon Joseph arrives and tells Chloe that a young man who works with him in his carpenter shop has been asking about her. This is enough to send Chloe flying back to the betrothal party. At last Mary and Joseph are alone in the garden.

Mary and Joseph’s love for each other was surely very genuine though their age difference was likely vast. Joseph mentions this in passing as he teases Mary and tries to get her to admit how much she loves him. They speak together of their dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and like many couples before them, sit together under a starry sky and imagine what their futures will hold.

During their conversation Mary sees a falling star and tells Joseph that as a child her mother told her that falling stars were angels being sent to earth on “special assignment.” Mary and Joseph laugh together at the notion though both probably wish in their hearts that such simple things were truly possible. Their conversation is lighthearted but sincere. Joseph tells Mary he was attracted to her because of her purity, obedience to God’s law, and love for God the Father. Together they sing the beautiful duet Heaven Came Down. The lyrics liken the falling star to “heaven coming down.” Later in the show the lyrics are altered slightly to reveal that the real light from Heaven is the savior and king, the true light of the world. But for now it is enough to find Joseph and Mary, the most famous couple in the bible, in love with each other and with the God of Israel.  

After Joseph exits Mary is left alone in the garden to gaze at the stars a moment longer. Then, in an instant, she is in the presence of the angel Gabriel. He sings a beautiful new song written especially for this musical called “Gabriel’s Greeting.” He shares that Mary should not be afraid and that she is blessed and honored above all women and will be the Mother of God’s son. This baby is the Messiah and she is to name him Jesus. After Gabriel leaves Mary at first thinks she has been dreaming but then senses God has truly touched her. She knows she must tell Joseph but can’t imagine what she will say. The only thing she can think to do is run and tell her sister. She quickly exits and the lights go black.

The story progresses and eventually Joseph is confronted first by Mary with this unbelievable story – and then by his own emotions. He is in utter disbelief and finds himself needing time alone to take it all in. After Mary leaves, feeling shattered and empty, Joseph sings the haunting and passionate soliloquy, “Mary, Why?” His heart is broken. The Act concludes with these lyrics:

    Oh, Mary, tell me, Mary; what, what am I to do now?

    Although you have betrayed me, I’ll try to go on somehow.

    But why, tell me, why?  

    I hope and I pray that somehow, some day,

    Our love finds a way…oh, Mary, why?

Act II begins with Reumah and Homer again filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle. Reumah tells the audience how Mary must now approach her parents and explain everything to them. She notes that Mary trying to convince her father that the child is really from God could roughly be equated to how hard it would be to convince her husband to clean the stable.

In the next scene we find Mary’s father pacing the floor utterly distressed. Mary has just told him the news. His heart tells him the story must be true but his mind can’t grasp it. It is Mary’s mother Anna who reminds him that it is “someone’s” daughter the holy scriptures must have been talking about in Isaiah regarding the virgin who would conceive and bear God’s son…why not them. In the end Joachim realizes he has no choice but to accept Mary’s story but insists that she and her mother leave town for a period of time so he can “figure things out.” His plan is to send them off to visit their relatives Elizabeth and Zechariah in Judea. The scene finishes with an extraordinary quartet in which Joachim, Anna, Joseph, and Mary, one by one, while in their own “world,” sing about the dilemma in which they find themselves. The lyrics, melody, and harmony “collide” in the final chord of the song. The pain each is feeling is palpable.  

Mary, Chloe, and their mother soon travel to Judea to visit Elizabeth and Zechariah. A lively conversation takes place and, though always quick with a joke and full of good humor, Elizabeth is also very, very wise. She helps Mary see that she must “rejoice” in what God has done. And, she helps Mary understand that God was surely going to work everything out because clearly He has a plan to include Joseph in her life and in the life of the Messiah who is now living inside of her. Near the end of the scene the four ladies sing a beautiful quartet entitled “Rejoice, Sing out My Soul.”

Three months have passed. Back in Nazareth, Joseph is confronted by Chloe. They have a heated conversation about Mary’s “condition.” Chloe’s visit leaves him exhausted and Joseph soon falls fast asleep. Joseph dreams that an angel appears to him and tells him that the child Mary carries is indeed the Son of God. A beautiful new song entitled “Joseph’s Dream” was written especially for this production and is sung by the Angel Gabriel. The next day Joseph approaches Mary not knowing whether she will take him back into her life or not. Naturally Mary is thrilled that Joseph now too understands and their love for one another is renewed.

In the following brief scene Reumah and Homer tell the audience that, “There’s a young couple outside who need a place to stay.” Homer tries to talk her out of it but Reumah won’t listen. She cleverly and humorously tricks Homer into moving his favorite animals out of the stable to make room for Mary and Joseph.

The couple have traveled to Bethlehem where they are forced to take shelter in the only place they can find… a lonely stable. Once alone, Mary and Joseph again contemplate the night sky and what God has done for them. They know the future will be difficult but courageously accept the challenge. The brightest star they’ve ever seen shines over Bethlehem that night. Jesus is born and the air is filled with music. Ultimately, the entire cast joins Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus on stage as they reprise the song, “A Night of Glory.” The final lyrics in the musical are:

    This is a night of glory, a time to praise the new born King.

    So spread the Christmas story,

    And let us lift our voice on high and sing!

    This is a night of glory, a time to praise the new born King.

    So spread the Christmas story,

    And let us lift our voice on high and sing!

    A night of glory, so lift your voice and sing!



Audience Reaction

Most people know the story of Mary and Joseph but few stop to think of the impact their situation had on the lives of those who knew them best. This story touches the audience in a unique way because people see bits and pieces of their own lives in each of the characters. By incorporating interactions of characters not usually found in the story the audience sees things from a completely personal vantage point. That is drama, doing its work…and at its best!! There are few dry eyes in the audience during the scene where Mary and Joseph “make up” or in the finale. The mix of comedy and drama are perfect. Appropriate reverence is giving to all characters in the musical.

Performance Length / Cast

The running time of this musical is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It can be shortened with simple cuts in several of the longer scenes. There are eight powerful songs in the show including solos, duets, two quartets and several powerful choral numbers. 

Cast of Characters



Homer (Innkeeper)

Joachim (Mary’s Father)



Anna (Mary’s Mother)




Reumah (Innkeeper’s Wife)

Unlimited number of male and female chorus members.


A chorus can easily be incorporated into this musical. For instance, the opening scene can be done with just the principle characters, or, a large chorus of townspeople can also be on stage. The opening number is spectacular when done with a large chorus. The second scene can also start out with a number of actors on stage who are enjoying the outdoor gathering at Joachim and Anna’s home celebrating the betrothal of Mary and Joseph. As Mary and Chloe “slip away” from the party the chorus discretely exits leaving them alone. Additionally, several servants can be added to all the Homer/Reumah scenes as well as to the Elizabeth scene in Act II. Their reactions to the dialogue adds a great deal to the scenes. Townspeople can be included in many of the outdoor scenes and certainly a large chorus adds a great deal to the finale. The beauty of this musical is that it can be done with just 8 or 10 people. Or, you can add dozens more by following the suggestions above.

Casting Options / Set and Prop Requirements

As a point of interest, (and so you know it is possible), in the original production the following roles were played by the same actors:

    1.  Homer and Zechariah

    2.  Gabriel and Joachim

Doubling roles is accomplished with makeup, wigs, and costumes. We mention this because it demonstrates the possibility of doing a larger scale show such as this with a relatively small cast. (The original cast was made up of three men and four women.) On the other hand, you can easily utilize several dozen actors in this production by adding a chorus and not having actors play dual roles.


As with all of our musicals, the sets can be very simple making use of minimal scenery and leaving it up to the audience to “fill in the blanks.” The garden scene, Mary’s home, Reumah and Homer’s porch, Elizabeth’s courtyard, Joseph’s bedroom, and the stable are all simple to construct. Your sets may of course be as elaborate as you wish. Set information, and dozens of other production helps are all found in the Director’s Notes which come as part of the Musical Production Kit. Sample pictures of sets used in the original production of this, and many other Gloria Emmerich musicals, can be found by going to the photo gallery on this website.

Perusal Script Excerpt

Click on the link below to download a perusal script. This perusal excerpt is available to assist you in the play selection process.
Excerpts are not intended for performance or academic use. In any of these cases you will need to purchase the rights via our website or by phone.
A full perusal script of this show is available for purchase on the “Pricing” page. 

Born This Day Perusal Script ExcerptDownload