Could 'Journey to Bethlehem' Musical Have a 'Hamilton' Type of Impact? That's What Lecrae Is Hoping
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Grammy Award-winning Christian rapper Lecrae says he hopes the new Broadway-inspired nativity story, "Journey to Bethlehem," will impact audiences just like the Broadway hit Hamilton.
"The music is top-tier," Lecrae recently told CBN News.
The faith-based musical is set to hit the big screen on November 10 and Lecrae, who plays the archangel Gabriel, says the movie can be a tool to spread the Gospel among non-believers.
"I look at what Hamilton did as far as the music and how impactful it was for culture. And I think of this in a similar fashion," Lecrae told Christian Headlines. "This music is top tier, and the acting and the cinematography is just top tier. I want people to walk away saying, 'What an amazing piece of art,' but at the same time, 'Wow, I never considered this perspective about the Nativity story.'"
As CBN News reported, the musical will feature Academy Award nominee Antonio Banderas as King Herod, Fiona Palomo as Mary, Milo Manheim as Joseph, and Joel Smallbone as Herod's son, Antipater.
Film and TV music writer and composer Adam Anders directed this version of the nativity story.
Anders is responsible for producing Grammy-nominated music for Glee in 2011 and 2012 and Rock of Ages in 2013. He also produced music for such faith-based projects as The Passion (2016) and Son of God (2014).
"I first had the idea for the film years ago when I was looking for a musical to watch with my family at Christmastime," Anders said. "I want this movie to be a bright light this Christmas season — as bright as the star of Bethlehem."
Lecrae, whose musical talents have earned him two Grammys and several Dove Awards, says the music presented in the film breaks new ground.
"It's excellent. It's breaking creative boundaries," he said, referencing the faith genre. "But then also the cinematography is top tier. It's on par with any major film that you've ever seen. The storyline, the writing – it's just all done really, really well. And I think oftentimes, we have lower expectations on films like this because, you know, the budget may be lower. And generally speaking, we kind of give Christian films … a participation trophy for caring about the message, but this one earns real trophies for making a phenomenal film."
"Journey to Bethlehem" retells Mary and Joseph's journey through "humor, faith" and a blend of classic and new Christmas songs.
"A young woman carrying an unimaginable responsibility. A young man torn between love and honor. A jealous king who will stop at nothing to keep his crown. This live-action Christmas musical adventure for the entire family weaves classic Christmas melodies with humor, faith, and new pop songs in a retelling of the greatest story ever told—the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. A unique new entry into the collection of holiday classic movies, this epic Christmas musical is unlike any before it," reads the website's description.
Lecrae says he hopes the film brings hope and joy to viewers this Christmas.
"It is a story that has been important for thousands of years. It needs to be told and retold," Lecrae said in a clip posted to Instagram. "What an amazing opportunity to be the first musical offering of a story this significant."
He continued, "People will experience the journey of Mary – this young girl who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. It's a unique vantage point and perspective that really does stay faithful to God's story, but at the same time adds so much color."
Watch the trailer below:
Tickets can be purchased at journeytobethlehemmovie.com.
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