By Diane Howard, Ph.D.
Antonio Banderas knocks it out of the park in his musical comedic role as crazed Herod in “The Journey to Bethlehem,” the first musical comedy film based on the Biblical account of the birth of our Lord. In this film, Mary is a young woman carrying an unimaginable responsibility. Joesph is a young man torn between love and honor. Their story is told with reverence as well as with upbeat music and dance. Herod is a jealous crazed king who will stop at nothing to keep his crown. His story is story is told with highly entertaining comic relief. This live-action Christmas musical adventure for the entire family weaves classic Christmas melodies with humor, faith, and new upbeat songs in a retelling of the greatest story ever told, the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. This film is a unique new entry into the collection of holiday classic movies. This epic new Christmas musical is unlike any before it.
I have enjoyed interviewing Alan Powell again, as I did for his jubilant musical film “A Week Away.” Alan is a multi-talented actor, writer, producer, and musician. He is a co-founder of Monarch Media, a prestigious film and television production company based in Los Angeles.
In my interview, I wanted to especially focus on the upbeat music, as well as comedy, for “Journey to Bethlehem” and why they are important, especially in our times. Here are some questions I asked and excerpts from his responses, as well as from as our unique discussion.
DH: Why did you choose to produce this movie?
AP: This story has been close to home my whole life and I have been passionate about it. I have wanted to produce this story because the heartbeat behind it has shaped me.
DH: Why is it fitting for times such as this?
AP: We have never needed more positivity and hope than today. This story provides the Ultimate Hope.
DH: What is the value of the upbeat music and humor in this film?
God originated these things. He is a God of humor and honesty. It is a film that the entire family can see and enjoy. It is an important story for the whole family. It has significant themes for all.
DH: Why do you think Jewish music is upbeat?
AP: God is God of uplifting positivity and joy, which makes us brave and energized in the face of adversity.
DH: Why do you think Jewish people are known for their humor?
AP: Comedy comes from pain and helps to overcome it.
DH: Why do you think a presentation of the Christmas story needs upbeat music and comic relief?
AP: We need a reason to smile. We need hope, positivity, and uplifting stories that bring encouragement, joy, fun in our lives.
DH: Why do we need humor?
AP: Humor pierces through jadedness and criticism without taking away from the Truth. It disarms receivers to receive the Truth.
DH: How can we support what you are producing?
AP: Producing such films is business. We need audience support.
With Jews and Christians upbeat music and lighthearted humor helps to relieve the stress of dangerous situations. It also helps to convey Truth that is easier to hear. Jesus used hyperbolic exaggeration, irony, humorous word pictures and more to engage listeners and to make them think. The Jews have been known for their upbeat music and humor that have helped them deal with threats. Comic relief helps to relieve anxiety in threatening situations.
Herod and the three wise men are in an endangering situation, which could eliminate the Savior of the world. Just as God laughs at threatening nations and rulers who will not prevail against Him and His plans; when we see this film, we also laugh at Herod’s evil plans that will not prevail against God’s plan to save mankind. We need to hear upbeat music and need to laugh to diffuse unnecessary anxiety over the treats of today.
Diane Howard, Ph.D. is a dialogue, dialect and voice-over coach, as well as a journalist who writes about the role of faith in movies and in the entertainment field. Her website is dianehoward.com.