Son of Man: A Rock Opera Class of 2017

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Nathan Berry
Class of 2017


Son of Man is a rock opera of twenty-two scenes which explore evangelical Christianity and the consequences of a theology that is not affirming of LGBTQ+ individuals. The opera introduces queer characters into a biblical world where Judas falls in love with Jesus and Hannah (a fictional younger sister of Jesus) is secretly in a relationship with another woman. The purpose of these variations is to explore the question "What if Jesus were like this?" By introducing modern understandings of sexuality and gender identity, the opera seeks to explore the ways Jesus' ministry is relevant to our lives today. 

Comments from Mentors

"Nathan Berry’s Honor’s Project was a musical based on the premise of Jesus having made different choices during his time on earth.  These choices were not necessarily evil, but more sensible, practical, and often profitable, than what we know from traditional accounts of His life.  Nathan’s creative genius was challenged and expanded by taking on the task of writing the story 'treatment'  as well as the libretto, and music.  This all-encompassing role allowed Nathan produce a fascinating, intriguing, and beautiful work of art exploring, amongst other things the roles of gender and sexuality and challenges we all face in coming to terms with these issues.  To facilitate this part of the drama, Nathan created two woman characters outside the traditional canon; one being Jesus’s sister Miriam.  On the surface, the show might appear to be an alternative version of Jesus Christ Superstar because of the rock instrumentation and thematic influences.  I think this is where it started, but it soon took on a life of its own and stands as a powerful examination of the nature of people, the human condition, and how we interact with our faith and faith traditions.  Nathan continues to work on polishing the show and will seek opportunities its for production and performance."

--Dr. Blaise Ferrandino


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College of Fine Arts