New Larsson musical to be featured at The Gathering
Under the leadership of Creative Arts Director Jacqui Larsson, the Southern California Division is busy preparing a new musical to premiere at The Gathering in June 2012.
Titled “Spirit! II Empire,” this sequel to the Gowans and Larsson original picks up the story a few years after Paul’s conversion, as he travels throughout the vast, turbulent Roman Empire, fighting to give Christianity a foothold and facing opposition from all sides.
Since its debut in 1973, “Spirit!” established itself as the most influential of the Army musicals, crossing denominational boundaries with performances worldwide.
“Writing a sequel was one of those ideas that came out of nowhere, but seemed so obvious in hindsight,” said Kevin Larsson, composer and youngest son of the original composer, General John Larsson (Ret.). “When we proposed a sequel to Dad, he was excited immediately and gave his blessing.”
Karl Larsson, the writer, said, “While writing a sequel seemed a great idea, it became fairly daunting once we took a close look at the second half of Acts. It seemed that all the iconic, dramatic incidents had already been covered by the original musical. To make matters worse, it simply ends. It’s a great cliffhanger, but not an ideal ending for a musical. After a while though, we came to realize that there were almost too many stories to cover, so our challenge was to try and structure all the various strands into a cohesive whole. I think we came up with an interesting solution.”
The first draft of the script is now complete, with lyricist Major Malcolm Westwood (UK) working through the proposed song list, sending his words to Kevin Larsson for scoring. Auditions for the musical will take place in November, with the first rehearsals scheduled to commence in January 2012, all building to the June premiere at the Western Territory’s first congress in 15 years.
“I was a little nervous when I saw this advertised as a new Larsson musical,” Karl Larsson said. “While technically true, it seemed slightly misleading, but having heard the first couple of songs, I’m now confident we won’t be doing any lasting damage to the family name.”
“Spirit! II Empire” will be presented twice during The Gathering weekend, June 7-10, 2012, and attendance is included in the cost of registration. Register today online: uswevents.org.