PROVO "The White Star" is a perfect choice for a Campus Education Week offering as it's essentially the plan of salvation told from the perspective of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
That is its strength as well as its weakness.
This show, written by Doug Stewart with music by Janice Kapp Perry, can play well in LDS communities or venues, but those who aren't members of the LDS faith wouldn't get it on first blush.
Yet it could be used as a missionary tool to peak the interest of those outside the LDS faith.
Stewart, who finished the script after a personal family tragedy pushed him to pick up some notes written years earlier, wants to take it on the road, but a "Saturday's Warrior" it is not.
In fact the dialogue and lyrics are so deep that some may see them as borderline cheesy, but the message of faith, repentance and redemption is warm and reassuring.
The show features 17 new songs, all LDS-themed.
The storyline is about a family in spiritual crisis led by a father who feels God has abandoned him. He is directing his son, played by Jared Young, to follow in his misguided footsteps. But then an angel intervenes and takes Young's character on a Dicksonian journey. He meets ancestors who are counting on him and his family to complete their spiritual work. They're also looking forward to uniting in the eternities.
Through special effects, Young's character visits the City of Enoch (lifted off the Earth because of its righteousness) and cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon. He sees the separation that existed in the spirit world between the righteous and unrighteous before the mission of Jesus Christ. He learns how Christ was the only one who could bridge the gap.
Josh Tenney is a standout in his role as Luke, a character who provides narration and comic relief as a born-again Christian converted to the LDS faith.
Others in the well-acted play include A.J. Longhurst as the angel, Margo Watson as the mother and Alan Humpherys as the father. Anna Kaelin is the sister in the family and David Warr, 10, plays the kid brother. Ancestor roles are aptly handled by Chuck Gilmore, Matt Dobson, Lucas Charon, Laurell Warr, David Weeks, Leslie Nelson, Katie Tenney and Shoni Winkel.Orchestration is by Greg Hanson. George Nelson directs.