Bill McGlaughlin hosts this unique hour of Christmas stories and music.
New York Polyphony, an elite
quartet of solo male voices, along with Los Angeles
theatre director Stan Cahill and some of Broadway’s most acclaimed
young talent to present the Christmas story in the style of Britain’s celebrated "mystery" plays.
Mystery plays are among the earliest, formally developed plays in
medieval Europe. Their origin is obscure, but scholars generally agree
that they developed in Christian churches from the representation of
Bible stories as tableaux with accompanying song, such as the quem quaeritis,
a short musical performance set at the tomb of the risen Christ. The
initially simple structures were embellished with liturgical text and
grew more elaborate over two or three centuries.
The plays were created by and for ordinary people and were
often full of raw humor, domestic disputes and stolen animals. Building
on that, the action and humor in "Footprints to Paradise" are non-stop,
from shepherds dealing with a thieving housewife to Joseph telling his
disbelieving neighbors why his wife is pregnant, to women armed with
saucepans and ladles charging off to fight Herod.
"Footsteps to Paradise" was recorded in New York’s historic
St. George’s Church just off of Stuyvesant Square, one of the major
examples of Victorian architecture in New York City and site of one of
its finest acoustical settings.