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Wednesday
Mar252009

Scene By Scene

Act I opens with a scream. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” And the orchestra crashes into the downbeat of [“Where Is My Home”] the quartet sung by Moses, Miriam (his sister), Hatshepsut (his adoptive mother), and Aaron (his brother). The narrator takes us back in time to unravel how we got to this inciting incident.

Miriam upholds life, even defying the Pharaoh [“I Couldn’t Do It”] with a tender message about her passion for life. It leads us into the raucous exposition [“Pharaoh Tell Us What You’re Plan Is Now”] of the plight of the Israelites and their Egyptian counterparts, set against each other by the Pharaoh.

As Egyptians carry out Pharaoh’s evil plan, Yocheved (Moses' real mother) and Miriam sing [“Hope And Life And Love”] their farewell to the baby floating down the Nile. Hatshepsut, Pharaoh’s daughter, takes him as her own and names him Moses; meaning “drawn from the water.”

As Moses grows we find him in his daily muse [“Outside This Window”], wondering if there’s life outside the palace.

Trouble brews when the Israelites sing [“Groan and Grumble”] the blues, just trying to make it through each day of slavery. Moses has gone out to see what’s “outside this window” and gets more than he bargained for when he hears Aaron speak of brotherhood, Miriam speak of prophecy, and Pharaoh downplaying Moses origins. All is exposed [“The Truth”] when Moses presses for the truth, which leads us back (and forward) to…

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and the orchestra crashes into the downbeat [“Where Is My Home – Expanded”], of the Quartet, now expanded. Hatshepsut’s heart is broken. Aaron’s anger is front and center. Miriam sings praises for the prophecy being fulfilled. And Moses is so confused it causes him to strike a Guard and flee Egypt.

The choir becomes [“Heaven’s Chorus”] a voice of calm and peace, inviting Moses to get away for a time of discernment.


Intermission.


Act II opens with Moses in the desert [“The Song In My Heart”] struggling to understand who he is in light of all that has happened. He soon meets Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, high priest of Midian who gives his daughter in marriage, after witnessing Moses kindness toward her.

They marry [“There Is Love In My Days”] though Moses is still unsure about his future and his past. Zipporah convinces him they can get through anything with love. They are living happily ever-after until one day [“The Burning Within”] when Moses chases after a stray sheep and happens upon a bush, burning…like the burning within his heart.

He removes his sandals, bows down, as he hears the voice of God, the voice of Truth speaking clearly to him, reminding him of the burning desire within his heart to answer the call given to him. Though riddled [“Hope and Life and Love – Reprise”] by another twist of fate, he agrees to go back to Egypt and lead God’s people to freedom.

On the way back he meets Aaron, reconciles, and together [“Outside of Egypt”] they hope for their future in freedom, their true home. Upon their return to Egypt Moses finds he has no voice for the Israelites [“Groan and Grumble Reprise”]. Yet they listen to Aaron [“Won’t You Rise Up”] who convinces everyone to follow Moses.

It’s showdown time [“Plague And Passover”] as Moses and Aaron face Pharaoh who refuses their request to “let my people go."  Pharaoh, devastated by the plagues, and the loss of his son, relents. At this moment the voice of God [“The Exodus”] answers the riddle that both Yocheved and Moses sang, instituting the Passover Meal.

In a glorious winding up of the story, the Israelites celebrate crossing over the Red Sea. Miriam and Moses sing praise to God. And Moses leads the Israelites [“The Only Way To Be Free”] in the passionate finale that defines their mission as they prepare to journey to the Promised Land.

Curtain.