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The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph's Baby (FringeNYC)

From 5 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Delightful, Entertaining, Relevant, Funny, Great acting

About the show

Part of FringeNYC: The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby: There really is a pregnant virgin, shepherds, angels, foreign dignitaries, a ratty inn and a bloodthirsty dictator whose menacing shadow hangs over everything. And obviously, it’s a comedy. More…

Categories: Musical/Opera, Drama, Local. From Firebone Theatre Company. Written by Music and Lyrics by Don Chaffer, Book by Chris Cragin-Day. Directed by Amelia Peterson.

This piece dares to take the classic story at its word. There really is a pregnant virgin. There really is just a dream interposed between her and death by stoning. There are shepherds, angels, foreign dignitaries (a.k.a. wise men), a ratty extra room/stable at an inn, and a maniacal, bloodthirsty dictator whose menacing shadow hangs over everything. And obviously, it's a comedy.

Seriously, it is. 

With four racially diverse actors, a minimal set, and an emphasis on movement as an expressive device, The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph's Baby surprises both virgin-believing and non-virgin-believing audiences alike.  

CAST:  Joseph - Michael Castillejos*
Elizabeth - Katherine George
Mary - Ava McCoy
Benjamin and various roles - Andrew Nielson
(*) These actors are appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity.

TEAM: Book - Chris Cragin-Day
Music/Lyrics - Don Chaffer
Director - Amelia Peterson
Producer - Hope Chavez
Stage Manager - Chloe Anne Madison
Scenic Designer - Gabriel Firestone
Costume and Props Designer - Alana Roecker
Lighting Designer - Devin Cameron
Music Director - Cameron Mizell
Assistant Director - Laura Dupper
Assistant to the Producer - Gabrielle Hughes
Assistant Stage Manager - Isabelle McCauley
Assistant Costume and Props Designer - Kayla Redd

Theatre is Easy

"The songs never reach anything preachy, rather we get a personal and careful look at the life of a couple coming to terms with this virgin birth and the enormity of their new, important place as impoverished people...This folks, is one of Fringe’s best. It’s smart, it’s polished, it’s honest, and it has a bright future ahead of it...The performances are outstanding...'The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby' is so wonderfully human." Full Review

Applause! Applause!

"This original folk musical is the unsurpassed breakout hit of the Fringe Festival. It is very clever, extremely entertaining, and absolutely delightful! It tells the story of Mary & Joseph in a fresh and funny way. This smart, intelligent musical has a bright future ahead of it. It is a new look at an old story featuring an outstanding non-traditional cast of four. It features an excellent score and even more poignant lyrics. The show is a hit. See it wherever and whenever you can! " Full Review

Stage Buddy

"If there is one story we think we know all too well, it’s that of the birth of Jesus, but what Chaffer and Cragin Day do in their gorgeous musical 'The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph’s Baby' is to bring a sense of freshness into it, and point out that beyond its supernatural elements, the show’s 'unusual' qualities mostly spring from the humanity of its characters…Its simple beauty (heightened by Amelia Peterson’s precise, but evocative, direction) makes it a timeless work." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“Comes to the stage with great promise...Retelling is fresh and, in most cases, brimming with humor. If only the cast members had stronger voices and were able to develop their characters more deeply giving them a freshness and a new depth of spirit...Peterson should be giving her actors a firmer hand and move the entire show at a much quicker pace...All of that said, a charming love story of a young couple faced with important decisions.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"If you’re going to reboot the Biblical tale of the virgin birth of Jesus, it helps to have an original take on the story, not to mention a consistent tone. Book writer Chris Cragin-Day, for the most part, has neither, which leads 'The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby' to veer between extremes...The supporting cast shines...Chaffer’s score has some lovely moments...But it can’t transcend a book that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be or why." Full Review

Cliched, Entertaining, Indulgent, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You like simple storytelling, are a Christian, like original musicals.

Don't see it if You're want a twist or new insight on the original tale. Nothing new gets said here. Interracial casting was the most interesting part.

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Refreshing

See it if you want to think about the Christmas story in a thoughtful, human and humorous way.

Don't see it if you want to stay with the sanitized, religious nativity story.

Great acting, Live band,, Puppets, Quirky, Great singing

See it if you like puppets and guitar driven music with lovely vocals.

Don't see it if you hate musicals.

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if You are interested in this author's take on Mary and Joseph's emotions when confronted with "God's" choice of Mary to bear his son.

Don't see it if You are not interested in biblical stories

Delightful, Romantic, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great singing

See it if You love great singing

Don't see it if Not a fan of religion

Delightful, Ambitious, Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if You love a great show

Don't see it if You don't want

Profound, Relevant, Great singing

See it if You love good music, good writing, amazing singing and soul stirring beauty.

Don't see it if You are close minded!

Clever, Relevant, Great writing

See it if an Immigrant couple struggles in an oppressive society. Sound familiar?

Don't see it if You don't like to be challenged ;-)

Funny, Refreshing, Relevant, Enchanting, Profound

See it if you like pretty music, humor, and beautiful stories.

Don't see it if you can't deal with humor in religion.

Delightful, Quirky, Romantic, Clever

See it if It's a sweet heartwarming and hilarious tale that doesn't get told very often! The music is beautiful and whoever played Benjamin is a HOOT!

Don't see it if You're not into puppets or folksy music

Great staging, Funny, Delightful, Original, Profound

See it if You enjoy Biblical adaptations that feel thoroughly human and rooted in the here and now while retaining their historical background.

Don't see it if You're looking for something silly, irreverent, or crass.