Each year the Lewis family had put on a show at the Oxford Christmas Festival, but with the outbreak of World War I, the festival had been cancelled. Now in 1919, the war is over, the town is ready to celebrate, and the Lewis family is ready again to sing . They begin to weave the story of The Three Kings and the Star of Wonder through many of your favorite carols.
Because of The Wisemen -
King Wenceslas decides to give.
A Shepherd boy discovers light.
Jeanette Isabella learns to serve.
An Innkeeper begins to believe.
And in the end, Private Jack Lewis finds the courage to tell the story of how one carol stopped a war and brought peace on earth.
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C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and their literary friends known as the Inklings would sit in this pub, The Eagle and Child, and share ideas. It’s where The Hobbit, Narnia, and Lord of the Rings were born. And it’s where the first version of Star of Wonder came to life – as an imagined Christmas eve filled with carol stories from the Inklings.
If the first version was with friends in a pub, but some of the carol's stories were about children: Jeanette Isabella, The Shepherd Boy. So we moved it from a pub to a Christmas Festival.
We have the place, now we needed a time. In 1919, just after World War I ended, a town was recovering from the effects and decided to have its first Christmas Festival in 5 years.
We have the where and when, we just need a who. In our musical, the Oxford town festival was always put on by the Lewis family (of course). So the new generation of Lewises decide to keep the tradition alive. They begin by welcoming their soldier brother home from the war and by having his nephew and niece take over the parts that the others had played as children.
We have the where, when, and who. What is the why? The festival had been cancelled during the war but it’s time to sing again. The first Christmas back would have been one of celebration and remembrance. As the Lewis family and the musicians at the festival begin to tell the stories behind the carols, one member of the family finds it hard to join in the festivities. Having just returned home, he has in his mind the pain of war mixed with the peace he experienced during the Christmas Eve Truce. He lost so many, but so did the town. Will he find the courage to tell his story and help those who are still suffering?
After all the stories are told, Wenceslas, Jeanette Isabella, Shepherds, Wisemen, and Angels, finally a Soldier takes the stage to give those who lost so much a final Christmas present. The vision of a star filled night, when a carol stopped a war…
For more than a decade, Christmas carols were a huge part of the story of James Conlee's career. Now, after a decade of development, he's turning many of those Christmas carols into a musical. Star of Wonder, a world-premiere created by Conlee, weaves several Christmas songs into a narrative, pivoting around a real-life historical event. Jack Lewis, a fictionalized veteran of World War I, has returned home to his family, which has a tradition of putting on a Christmas festival. But Jack resists fully committing to participate as a result of his wartime experience—specifically, because of the "Christmas truce" of 1914, when troops on both sides of the Western Front took a break from fighting to sing carols and honor the day together. Conlee's own relationship with Christmas—at least professionally—has been extensive...
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