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.

Friday, May 18, & Saturday, May 19, at 8:00 p.m. (church doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Friday Night Premium Seating (Front and Center Pews) - $30 (limited seating, all ages)
Saturday Night Gala with Wine & hors d’oeurves  at 6:00 p.m.- $50 per person (includes Premium Seating, adults only)
Friday or Saturday General Seating - $20 for adults, $10 for children or students with I.D.
CLICK HERE to order Tickets. (Your tickets will be left at Will Call on the performance date)

incARTnate Visual Art Exhibit:
Original Francis & Clare artwork created by the children of SSJ will be displayed before and after the performances.

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 the other well-to-do parents of Frank’s friends. 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 a mission to help the homeless and destitute of Skid Row. The story is told through lively and moving music that will touch those of all ages.

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.