THE STORY OF JO-BETH
Book, music, and lyrics by Daniel Maté.
From a concept by Erin Ortman and Daniel Maté; adapted from the Old Testament’s Book of Job.
Originally created in collaborative partnership with an ensemble of students at CAP 21 Conservatory’s Professional Training Program in New York City, Fall 2011: Valerie Blatt, Dan DeLuca, Kelsey Dobyns, Madison Eastman, Emily Hannon, Grace Lewis, Megan Martin, Sarah Merner, Chad Murnane, Emily Price, Susanna Rizzo, Matthew Rosell and Kellie Welch; and a creative team that included Erin Ortman (director), Alexander Gemignani (music supervisor), and Maddy Apple (choreographer).
All photos of the original cast of THE STORY OF JO-BETH at CAP 21 Conservatory
by Matthew Murphy.
THE STORY OF THE SHOW…
In this modern-day retelling of the Old Testament’s quintessential tale of woe, the role of Job falls to a 17-year-old all-American high-achiever named Jo-Beth who has it all — family, success, boyfriend, a brilliant future — and suddenly loses everything. As the tight-knit Midwestern community she lives in abandons their former poster child in her time of distress, Jo-Beth is forced to confront the depths of loneliness and despair, and venture to the edge of her own faith in humanity. Blending Biblical imagery with modern psychological realism and humor, and a diverse musical score that hovers somewhere between contemporary and apocalyptic, THE STORY OF JO-BETH is a compelling meditation on adversity, suffering, and courage; a secular Bible story for the times we live in.
THE STORY BEHIND THE SHOW
“Like MIDDLE SCHOOL MYSTERIES, the genesis (no pun intended) of this piece was as a collaboration with an ensemble of young actors — in this case, college students in a conservatory program in musical theatre performance at CAP 21, a school and theatre company I’ve been working with for years. The ensemble’s acting teacher (and the show’s original director) Erin Ortman had the idea of using the Job myth to explore present-day instances of individual and collective suffering. Erin wanted to set the show in a Midwestern town recovering from a natural disaster similar to the one that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri in early 2011, so we did some research into that event as well as looking at the text of the Job story. From there we worked with the actors to create character types, backstories, and relationships, from which we then assembled the basic plot structure. It was a tremendously intense six-week process — both because of the limited time and the high-powered thematic material. The result was a very visceral piece of musical theatre that we were all excited about and proud of…
Recently the opportunity has arisen to develop the piece further, which means doing some hefty rewrites to streamline the story and clarify the way the Job myth’s themes are explored in this contemporary retelling. Next up is a developmental reading of the new draft in April 2013 at The JCC in Manhattan, directed by Michelle Tattenbaum. More details as they emerge!” -DM