Out of the Darkness is an Easter musical designed to encourage and inspire. Rarely has a musical better helped the audience understand both the humanity and deity of Jesus. Christ surrounded himself with men and women who were, in many ways, no different than people of today; people who were so lost they didn’t even know it. The characters depicted in Out of the Darkness were carefully selected to show the variety of individuals Jesus dealt with during His life on earth.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest disciples and the relationship they had is well documented in scripture. Peter serves as a pivotal character in our story. His mother-in-law, though mentioned only briefly in the Bible, is also given a key role in the musical. She and Peter have a well established “history” and their relationship adds a great deal of comedy relief to the show. Jara (the fictional name given to Peter’s mother-in-law) is healed by Jesus of a dangerously high fever and recounts the story with both power and humor. She is high-spirited, witty, cantankerous, and very, very loveable.
Jesus’ first miracle took place in Cana of Galilee. The “Cana Couple” in our story are from Southern Galilee. Given the fact that Cana really is in the southern part of the region of Galilee, the writer takes advantage of this fact and gives the couple a southern flair…accents and all. The couple (Jedidiah and Susanna) are visited by Jesus’ mother Mary and together they recall and recount the power and excitement of the miracle that happened on that famous wedding day.
Next, the paralytic (given the name Daniel in our musical) shares his story with the audience concerning the healing he received from Jesus. Daniel was a shy man who, even if he were able to, would probably never have “troubled” Jesus by asking for healing. However, Daniel’s very persistent friends had other ideas and, against his will, took him to see Jesus. Unable to get inside, Daniel’s friends tore a hole in the roof and lowered him down right in front of where Jesus stood preaching. With unreserved zeal Daniel describes the power of his healing and subsequent passion for the new life he experienced following this encounter with the Master.
The title song, Out of the Darkness, comes from an inspiring scene where Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead.
The second act is charged with emotion as Jesus experiences the agony of Gethsemane and the betrayal of Judas. Soon after, Peter denies ever knowing Christ and we witness the misery, guilt, and shame Peter experienced because of his cowardice. The powerful final scenes portray Jesus’ death and the ultimate triumphant of His resurrection.
Out of the Darkness was first produced professionally at the Rocky Hock Playhouse in Edenton, NC in 2004. Since its American premier, the musical has been performed by most of the original cast many times in Puerto Rico. Selected scenes have also been performed widely across Germany at US military bases for American servicemen and women and their families. Whenever and wherever the musical is performed there is a strong sense that most audience members feel they’ve seen a side of Jesus they never saw before. Virtually without fail people identify with one or more of the characters portrayed in the musical. Many people’s lives have been positively affected by seeing that Jesus really does have the power to touch people and change their lives — even today!
When performed in its entirety, Out of the Darkness is about 2 hours in length. Many of the scenes in this musical “stand alone” and can be cut at the director’s discretion. The show can literally be cut in half (or more) by cutting out scenes/songs.
If you are dealing with actors who are not soloists it is also possible to cut songs from the show, or, play the Emmerich Publications vocal demo CD while actors mime actions to the lyrics. (We are not suggesting that your actors lip-sync the songs.) And, depending on the caliber of your singers, in performance you may also wish to have your singers sing along with the Emmerich Publications vocal demo on all (or some) choral numbers. This will give you a fuller sound and boost the confidence of your actors.
Cast of Characters
Daniel (the paralytic)
Jedidiah (Cana Couple husband)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Tirzah (Jairus’ daughter)
Jara (Peter’s mother-in-law)
Suzanna (Cana Couple wife)
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 in the musical. (i.e. opening scene, the Cana Couple scene, Tirzah healing scene, and nearly every scene in the second act.)
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:
Peter and Jedidiah
Jesus and Daniel
Mary and Jairus’ daughter Tirzah
Suzanna and Jara
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 two men and two women.) Please keep in mind you can easily utilize several dozen actors in this production by adding a chorus and not having actors play dual roles.
SET AND PROP REQUIREMENTS
As with all of our musicals, the sets can be very simple using 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: various courtyards, inside or outside of the Cana Couples home, outside Daniel the paralytic’s home, a bedroom inside Jairus’ house, Gethsemane, Calvary, etc. 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.