Tuesday, May 24, 2005

One Mad Christmas

I had a church recently ask about a dramatic musical that Leona and I wrote a few years ago called, "One Mad Christmas." I forgot that seasonal musicals have a long shelf life! Especially ones that are set in a certain time period, like this one is.

"One Mad Christmas" Posted by Hello

Just for fun, here's how it begins:


(Lights come up on a blind man who is holding out a hat on a street corner. A few people on the street pass by him.)

(“The Money” Underscore 1 begins)

(VOICE OF) COOPER: It all started with a bad cup of coffee. My wife Erin and I were on our way to visit her parents for Christmas when we started arguing. First it was the coffee -she still makes it too weak – then it was money. Since we were married last year, money seems to be the thing we argue about the most. It’s maddening! My name’s Cooper. Cooper Weston. I soon discovered that this was going to be one Christmas I would never forget; and it happened in a town called Madding. That’s right, Madding. Madding, Nevada, on Christmas Eve, 1960.


What a blast from the past. Leona and I wrote the musical after being unable to find any good dramatic musicals for our church Worship Arts Ministry one Christmas. We had presented several "Broadway" style musicals in previous years, but there just weren't any new ones coming out that year. After viewing a couple of original plays that some other churches had created, we lost our minds and just decided to write one of our own.

"Surely we can do better than that!" we told ourselves.

Oh yeah. Real easy...Original script that makes sense, original songs and musical score with lyrics that don't sound ridiculous or cliche', a functioning set design, staging and scene changes...we could probably knock this out in a weekend, right? About a year and a half later, we started rehearsals.

Creativity must be driven by Discipline; Innovation strengthened by Order. These things take time and hard work.

It's hard to describe what it's like to have something you've initiated from scratch become a reality. To hear lines that Leona and I came up with around a campfire in Colorado being quoted and performed on stage is a pretty surreal experience. But we didn't put it all together on one weekend around a campfire. It took hours and hours of working through story twists, plot development, character development, writing of dialog, composing music and more. Sometimes it was incredibly fun. Sometimes it was just work. But the payoff in the end was huge.

"Starting something from scratch" is a pattern that has always been a part of my life. When I was a kid, I wrote a book (short story actually, and no, you can't read it) and developed a ventriliquist act with my brother, Kenny, and performed it for my elementary school. When I was a teenager, I started a Christian Club at our High School, help start a band, and on and on it goes.

It's amazing to see how God has used that throughout the years, and especially now that we are doing something similar with North Point Fellowship. A church that didn't exist before we got here. Very cool. And no, it hasn't been easy, either, but these things take time and hard work...and the payoff in the end will be huge.

I believe that God has put a creative spark in all of us. Think about it for a minute. What have you ever created from scratch? How has God used it for His glory? On the other hand, what great, creative idea have you come up with that was never really fleshed out because it was missing the discipline needed to see it through to reality?

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