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Church musical brings touch of Christmas tradition

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 9, 2015 - 19:02

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Seoul International Baptist Church will be putting on its first Christmas musical Saturday, with a reworking of the traditional Christmas story.

According to stage manager Angi Belsly, “Bethlehem’s Big Night” portrays the traditional tale of the nativity from the perspective of the townspeople.

“It’s the Christmas story, of course, but it’s more from the people who were in Bethlehem at the time, and looking at their lives there.”

“There’s a few calmer, quieter songs and moments, but there is a lot of humor in it, too,” she said.

The hour-long show mixes carols with other songs written specifically for the musical.

“There’s a few traditional Christmas songs, like ‘O Come All ye Faithful’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,’ but there are also some songs that were also more upbeat and fun songs.”

Belsly said that the church had talked for several years about putting on plays and musicals, but needed someone to take charge of it. So when Suzanne Cleaver approached the church in the summer to see if they would be interested, they jumped at the chance.

“She’s directed it before and wants to bring it to our church,” said Belsly.

Belsly said she hoped the musical would bring a bit of homely warmth to expats who may be missing home at this time of year.

“I know this time of year for expats, some people get very lonely and homesick, so it’s kind of a nice time to come out and just be in a place where there is Christmas decorations and some familiar Christmas hymns and the Christmas story,” she said. “I think it will be a nice time for the holiday season.”

The shows will be Saturday at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the church in Haebangchon, near Itaewon. Admission is free, with refreshments provided afterward, though the church will be accepting donations to help with the cost of lighting and other expenses for the play.

To get to the church, walk straight out of Noksapyeong Station, bearing left at the first turn and then right down a parallel alley toward PSA Academy as the road starts to climb. The church is 400 meters down the alley, on the right. 

By Paul Kerry (paulkerry@heraldcorp.com)