By Phyllis Fox
So, you want to hear about the Rabbi.
Good. You’ll get your chance at the Thursday-evening session of the North American Christian Convention.
I should warn you, though, it’s challenging to find the right words that will take you BEYOND your imaginations and BEYOND your previous theater experiences, because The Rock & The Rabbi is so much more.
Beyond the synagogues and shorelines, beyond the church walls and workplaces—the Rabbi says, “Follow Me. I’ll make you fishers of men.”
It all begins with a name-changing encounter and a miraculous catch of fish for Peter, the Rock, when he meets the Rabbi.
The Rock & The Rabbi is a wonderfully told, age-old story with powerful poetic lyrics and inspiring rhythms. It is a production that combines creative music, storytelling, and historical truths to create an intimate and powerful experience.
The Rock & The Rabbi doesn’t fit any known genre. It’s music. It’s storytelling—amped up storytelling! And just like the story that’s being told, its appeal is ageless.
The Rock & The Rabbi storyline came to Gary Richardson when he was a freshman at Milligan College while chatting with Tommy Oaks, then a local minister, at a Perkins restaurant. It was when Gary was serving at Harborside Christian Church in Tampa, Florida, along with friend and composer Danny Hamilton, that the story and the music became The Rock & The Rabbi.
The musical score features acoustic guitars, Irish and African drums—just about every object ever created for percussionists—along with accordion and bagpipes—all composed by Hamilton. The cast members are all virtuosos, vocal and instrumental performers whose technical accomplishments are beyond talent. More than gifted, they are dazzling.
The Rock & The Rabbi is mostly set in the Gospel of John and includes many of the miracles that occurred as Peter followed Jesus, including the second miraculous catch of fish and the shoreline breakfast encounter where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. The story concludes with the Rabbi telling the Rock, once again, to “Follow me.”
You don’t see The Rock & The Rabbi so much as you experience it. Something about it makes me want to see it again and again. The Rock & The Rabbi takes Scripture from two dimensions to four dimensions—possessing a freedom that can only exist when the Words of Life become Life itself.
Thursday night is Family Night at the NACC. The Rock & The Rabbi surprisingly goes beyond typical musical theater so the 15-year-old and her grandfather will equally love the show. It will be the talk of the convention. You will want to see it again. You will want your family and friends to experience it.
Phyllis Fox is director of church relations and Youth in Ministry at Milligan College in Tennessee. Youth in Ministry has been the producer of the NACC Student Convention since 2005. She serves as a contributing editor to CHRISTIAN STANDARD.