A Beautiful City: A New Musical About the Lives of Sts. Francis and Clare

A Beautiful CityWhat if the saints we know and love from the past were fast-forwarded into the present? How might they respond to God’s call today?

Come experience Francis and Clare as they make a choice to follow God’s call - brought into the 21st century and among LA's Skid Row. Help us bring their story to life in SSJ's first annual all-parish musical production - A Beautiful City. The original script was written for the SSJ community by the Parish Ensemble director/pianist Michael Upward and his writing partner Barbara Brennan.

This is a production for the whole family! If you act, sing, dance... sew costumes, build sets, like to paint, arrange backgrounds, provide child care services, we need YOU.

This new theater ministry at SSJ is in need of volunteers to sing, act, organize, build sets, sew costumes, etc.  If you are interested in helping in ANY way, please contact our director, Lindsay McNutt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


If you are interested in playing one of the lead characters (see below), we would like to hear you sing and read some lines from the script.  The auditions will be held on the weekend of February 16-18 (the exact times will be announced at the informational meeting.)  Click here for audition materials (details, music and lines).

Do you just want to sing in the choir, dance or be in the stage ensemble?  Not to worry.  You do not need to audition!  We would love to have you in our production. Please contact our director, Lindsay McNutt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let her know you are interested.  


A Beautiful City” begins with a wealthy group of friends celebrating Spring break out of the U.S.  One of them, a young man named Frank, is kidnapped and held for ransom. His father pays the kidnappers and he is returned to his home in Los Angeles. His parents commiserate with their friends about their children. When Frank recovers, he tells his dad that he does not want to go into his family’s business asking the question, “There’s got to be something more?”

He finds his answer in a rundown old chapel, St. Damian’s, which is located on L.A.’s Skid Row.  It is there that he hears God’s call to “Rebuild His church.” Frank’s faith causes others, in particular, his friend, Clare, to follow him and join him in mission.


I fully realize that being a professed religious in the Franciscan order makes me biased toward the stories of Francis and Clare of Assisi. That said, I think their stories are relevant in today’s world for several reasons: 1) they both came from a place of economic privilege yet found a way to connect to the real needs of their time; 2) they were able to discern a way of following God that was passionate, joyful, and addressed ecclesial and secular challenges; 3) neither of them knew where the path would lead yet they trusted that God would guide them each step of the way.

We live in an extremely secular world where many choose paths of personal pleasure and material gain without regard to the cost of their choices on others or the environment. People of our time and culture need to be reminded that a choice for God can come in so many forms and that God calls us through the context of our gifts and passions to minister to today’s needs. The Franciscan way is a way of joy, passion, compassion and embraces all of creation. St. Francis and St. Clare experienced God in all things, even death, whom Francis called, Sister Death, and their legacy speaks as boldly today as it did 800 years ago. And what better way to tell the story of their conversion than to use God’s gift of music and theater.

I hope you can share your gifts to help bring their stories to life and share their message in a powerful way through the musical, A Beautiful City.

Fr. Daniel F. Barica, ofm, Pastor of Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church.

(Note: the age ranges listed are only how the characters are perceived. You can still audition for these characters if you are outside of the age range.)
Frank Bernard - Age: 20 to 30 (Tenor: Solos, duets, lines) grad student who loves to have a good time and party with his friends. He does not want to go into his wealthy father's business but instead has a conversion experience which changes not only his life but those of his friends and the people he meets along the way.

Clare - Age: 20 to 30 (Soprano: Solos, duets, lines) The strong-willed daughter of a wealthy businessman, she is a medical student who wants to use her skills to help the poor. She joins Frank in his work, and rejects the plans her parents have for her to marry well and become a cosmetic surgeon.

Paul - Age: 20 to 30 (Baritone: solo, lines) Frank's best friend, he is an ambitious and driven law student. He is athletic and charismatic.

Peter Bernard - Mature actor (Baritone: duet, lines) Frank's father. He is a hard-working, self-made businessman who has very high expectations for his son's career.
Pica Bernard - Mature actress (Alto: solo/duet, lines) Frank's mother. She is a loving, down-to-earth understanding mother.

Eli - Age 20 to 30 (Ensemble singing, lines) Frank's friend, Eli likes to party with Frank. He is a cool dude.

Leo - Age 20 to 30 (Ensemble singing, lines) Frank's friend. Passionate and quick to react to any situation.

June - Age 20 to 30 (Solo, lines) Frank's friend, Comedic Character: enthusiastic, spunky and outspoken.  She is extremely dedicated to Frank and is the first to follow him.

Bernie (or Bernadette) - Age 20 to 30 (Ensemble singing, lines) Frank's friend. He/she is honest and uncomplicated.

Angie - Age 20 to 30 (Ensemble singing, lines) Frank's friend. She is fastidious and a serious germaphobe.

Skyler - Mature Actor (Ensemble singing, lines) Clare's father. He comes from a very wealthy family. Manages his family's money and tries to manage his daughter's life.

Lana - Mature female actor (Ensemble singing, lines) Clare's mother, a wealthy matron. She is more concerned about her daughter's social standing than her happiness.

Pastor of St. Damians - Mature actor (Ensemble, lines) An elderly man who is very kind. He has spent his life caring for the people on Skid Row.

Walt, a Viet Nam war vet - Mature actor, 60 to 70 (Ensemble, Lines) He is a homeless vet who appears to have diminished faculties, but in reality is very wise.

The Cardinal - Mature Actor (lines) A man with a formidible presense.

Country Club Party Guests - Mature actors (Ensemble singing, few lines) Friends of Clare's parents - High society types.

Board of Directors - Can double as Party Guests (Ensemble singing, few lines)

St. Damian’s Children’s Choir – A group of children who regularly practice at the church.

The Homeless of Skid Row – A variety of people (children and adults) who are in need find solace at the new St. Damian’s mission.

Ensemble/Choir – Singing voices (in the choir loft) to help sing in the group songs.