This musical is based on the wonderful story about the most famous twins in the Bible…Jacob and Esau, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. All history was changed when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a simple bowl of soup. Jacob’s perseverance won him his brother’s birthright, his father’s blessing, and ultimately, a new name from God; ISRAEL!
This stirring musical features, as a main character, a woman whose actual Bible name was Deborah. She is a pivotal character in our story and was nurse to three generations: Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s children. She acts as narrator, confidant, and at times, comic relief in the musical.
From the start Jacob and Esau had a terrific distain for each other. Though the story is ancient, its truths resound today. Only a loving and patient God could ever have orchestrated the powerful and moving reconciliation between Jacob and Esau. The story is fast paced and charged with emotion. The musical score is the perfect compliment to this compelling musical.
The libretto follows closely the Biblical account. The first act chronicles the story of Jacob and Esau as young men vying for their father's attention. Though twins, they were as opposite as any two people could be. With his mother's help Jacob tricks Esau into giving up his birthright. When Jacob discovers that his brother wants to kill him he flees to the desert and eventually to Haran. Jacob is visited by a host of angels one night while sleeping. God makes many promises to Jacob. We still see the benefits to those promises today. And, many of the promises God gave to Jacob have been fulfilled in our lifetime.
The complications of Jacob’s dual marriages to Leah and Rachel are handled delicately. A rather hilarious scene in the second act demonstrates perfectly just what Jacob got himself into by marrying sisters.
Laban is, in our story, nearly an even match for Jacob regarding his conniving ways. Each tries to outthink and outsmart the other. In the end they part peacefully..."May the Lord watch between you and me while we're apart." This is a powerful and touching moment in the musical as we see the hatred melt as God brings peace and reconciliation to a decades-long feud.
In the final scene, Jacob and Esau confront one another in what could have been a tragic ending for these twin brothers. But, forgiveness abounds and the sons of Jacob are again reunited and their relationship is beautifully restored. There is a great lesson in this musical today for individuals, families, the church, and for the nations of the world.
Following performances, our observation has been that male audience members are particularly moved by the story. This is largely due to the touching and climactic ending to the musical when Jacob and Esau forgive each other and, as the lyrics say, “This sibling rivalry had made us enemies. But, restoration has begun.” Another particularly moving moment happens when Laban and Jacob finally make peace with each other and sing, “May the Lord watch between you and me while we’re apart.” Though this is a powerful drama, the comedy in the script and lyrics are all perfectly timed.
When performed in its entirety, Jacob, Prince of God is about 2 hours long. The show can be cut nearly in half by trimming back scenes and songs at the director’s discretion.
Cast of Characters
Guni (friend to Jacob)
Hamul (friend to Jacob)
Nehushta (friend to Deborah)
* Principle Character
THE USE OF A CHORUS
A chorus can easily be incorporated into this musical. Due to stage size, the original production did not utilize a chorus. However, a chorus of virtually any size could be added to a number of the scenes throughout the musical.
As a point of interest, (and so you know it is possible), in the original production the following roles were played by the same actor:
Rebekah and Rachel
Isaac, Hamul, and Angel
Esau and Guni
Abraham and Jacob
Leah and Female Servant
Doubling roles was accomplished with makeup, wigs, costumes, and some fine acting! 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 four 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 with only minimal scenery—leaving it up to the audience to “fill in the blanks.” Or, you can go all out and create sets that include three different tents, an outdoor desert scene, the courtyard of Laban’s rather elaborate home, Jacob’s well, etc. In the original production the directors came up with a very creative (and quite inexpensive) solution to the “Jacob’s ladder” sequence. This 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.