”Misconception” pokes gentle fun at the birth of Christ
Back for a second year, “Misconception: The Lost Gospel of Christmas,” the original musical comedy by Mark Swanson, will be presented at Le Chat Noir this weekend only. You may want to call right now for tickets, because it is selling out fast.
The show was so well received last year that Swanson decided to submit his work to several musical theater festivals; the most prestigious of the festivals being The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). NYMF has been the launching pad for a number of successes in New York and around the world. To date, festival productions have led to further life on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally (in 44 states) and internationally (in 16 countries).
“It’s like the Sundance of musical festivals,” explains Swanson. “We’ll find out if we’re accepted in January, and if we’re accepted I’m going to take the cast up to New York and that’s one of the big reasons we decided to do the show this year, it’s a fundraiser in case that happens.”
For anyone who missed out on the show last year, Swanson gives a little background information:
“Last year Doug Joiner and Krys Bailey approached me because I had written some music for them down here at Le Chat Noir, and they approached me and asked me if I could write a Christmas musical — and it was about August or so, so I thought, ‘Well, I better get busy,’ and we started throwing around some ideas,” says Swanson. “The idea that I had was that I wanted to approach this in a pretty modern way the whole Immaculate Conception idea.”
“The first thing I thought of was I’ve got a 13-year-old daughter. If my 13-year-old daughter came to me, came home from school and said, ‘Daddy, I’m pregnant and God’s the father…’ well, you know what would happen. For one thing, she’d probably be committed if she really believed that and you know, she’d have to deal with her father.” He chuckles and adds, “So, I kind-of took a very realistic view — a more modern view of how Mary would be treated in that situation. I was very careful to keep Mary and Jesus out of the whole play… because it is irreverent, no doubt about that — it’s not sacrilegious, but it is irreverent.
The original title before “Misconception,” he said, was “Who’s your Baby Daddy?”
“And that’s the first song,” Swanson continues. “It’s the village, the people that live with her, family members asking her, ‘Yeah, OK — who’s the baby daddy?’ Then we decided to change it ‘Misconception: the Lost Gospel of Christmas.’”
The subject matter might lead one to wonder how something as sacred as the conception of Jesus would be received by the Augusta community, but audiences loved it last year.
“One of the things last year that I was really worried about,” says Swanson, “was how it was going to be perceived here in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, but it really surprised me. Even my dad, who is a Southern Baptist preacher, and all the other clergymen who came to see the show, they loved it.” “Misconception: The Lost Gospel of Christmas”
Le Chat Noir
Thursday-Saturday, December 13-15 | 8 p.m. | $30
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