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Mary Magdalene, the woman who according to some gospel accounts was one of the first followers of Jesus to encounter a risen Christ, has long been a much-debated biblical figure–and now she is about to become the star of her very own musical production. Though little information about Mary Magdalene’s background is actually found in the Bible, the musical, simply titled “Magdalene” takes creative license and focuses on Mary as a young girl in love whose life is forever altered when she becomes the victim of a violent sex crime. Set to tour nationally in 2007, the show was originally produced last year in Nashville at Grace Chapel for a limited engagement

Though contemporary Christian musicians Chris Easton and Michelle Pillar composed the music for the show, this musical aspires to go beyond being a Christian evangelical production celebrating the life of another Biblical character. The musical’s producers have partnered with the International Justice Mission to raise audience awareness of the issue of women being sold into sexual slavery–often referred to as sex trafficking.

While we certainly see more and more evidence of spiritual and social issues intersecting on the big screen, we still don’t see it happen nearly as often–much less with excellence–when it comes to theater. (New Yorkers, feel free to begin filling the comment box with proof to the contrary…. now.) So I am hoping that this musical will be a successful model for other similar productions–not to preach, but to thoughfully and creatively reflect on social issues and why they are also the spiritual matters of the soul.

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