Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

The story begins with Jesus declaring himself as God and King, in whom there is no beginning and no end. John the Baptist enters and sings "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord." John the Baptist baptizes the company. When Jesus wishes to be baptized, John kneels and wishes to be baptized by him instead. Jesus brings John back to his feet and tells him that he is here to save mankind in the song, "Save the People."

The company returns in clown costumes and begins to put clown makeup on their faces. Jesus assures them that he has come, not to abolish the law of the prophets, but to complete it. While the company moves like stylized marionettes, Jesus informs them that those who keep to the law of God will earn the highest place in heaven. To illustrate this, he tells the story of the widow and the judge. The story shows that God is a good judge who will vindicate those who cry out to him day and night.

Jesus preaches the law of offering gifts at the altar before God as the company mimes making offerings. Then, as they all clap in rhythm, they act out the story of a Master whose servant owed him debt. The servant asked for the Master's pity, and the Master remitted the debt. However, the servant was owed a debt by another and, when he did not show the same pity that he had been shown, the Master condemned the servant to prison until the debt was paid. Jesus tells the company that the moral of the story is that one must forgive as God forgives. If one does not forgive, then God will condemn one to prison.

One of the company members sings "Day by Day," which is a prayer for clear vision. The company joins into the song. The company then does a pantomime of the Good Samaritan story for Jesus, who then tells them to love their enemies and not to make a show of religion. If good deeds are done in secret, the reward will come from God.

One of the company members sings "Learn Your Lessons Well," in which he warns of eternal doom if one does not learn the laws of God. Jesus tells the company that no one can be devoted to two masters, and that no man can serve God and money. One of the company members tells a story of a man who spends his life accumulating things, but dies before he can enjoy it. She then sings "O, Bless the Lord, My Soul," in which she praises a patient and wise God. Jesus bids the company to put away thoughts of material things and anxieties about tomorrow.

The company recites the beatitudes ("Blessed are the poor in spirit," etc.) and Jesus answers them in a call-and-response manner. However, Judas recites the final beatitude about persecution, directing it at Jesus. The company freezes with fear, thinking about events to come. However, Jesus quickly changes the subject and sings "All for the Best," through which he assures everyone that, even if life is bad, their reward will be in Heaven. Judas sings a verse of the song as well, and he and Jesus perform a soft shoe dance. The company joins their singing.

After the song ends, Jesus coaxes the shyest child to tell them all the parable of the sower and the seeds, which represent the word of God. To further illustrate the parable, one company member sings "All Good Gifts."

Jesus tells of a time when he will sit in glory and divide men into two groups like a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. His righteous sheep will enter Heaven while the cursed goats will face eternal fire. The goats beg for mercy and sing "We Beseech Thee." The company then acts out the story of the prodigal son. They sing "Light of the World," a song which encourages everyone to be shining beacons in the world. Jesus stops them, telling them that all that has gone before was in preparation — their real work begins now. As he turns away, one of the girls steps forward and sings "Beautiful City," voicing the realization that a new community has been formed by their coming together. When the song is over, Jesus announces that one of the company will betray him, and tells Judas to do what he has to do quickly. Judas runs off. Then, in a recreation of the last supper, Jesus gives the company bread and wine and announces that it is his body and blood; they will all eat and drink together again in the kingdom of God. Jesus bids farewell to his followers and prays in the garden. Judas returns and embraces Jesus, who is then crucified on the fence upstage while the company climbs the fence and wails.

In the "Finale," Jesus sings as he dies, and then all movement stops. The company removes Jesus from the fence and carries him off as they sing "Long Live God" in counter melody with "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord". Afterwards, the company reprises "Day By Day" as they take their bows.