The musical “David: The King of Jerusalem” was so well-received during its November premiere at Charis Bible College that it’s getting a repeat performance next week.
The big production by Andrew Wommack Ministries boasts a cast of about 70 who will perform in the Woodland Park college’s 3,150-seat auditorium in front of a giant LED-screen along with scenes filmed elsewhere in the country.
“It’s a multidimensional performance. The actors appear on the screen as a backdrop to the stage performance. This gives us an amazing opportunity to blend landscapes. It’s a great experience. The audience is having a cinematic and stage blend,” said Robert Muren, who co-wrote the musical with his wife, Elizabeth Muren. They are directors of the college’s Creative Arts School and also wrote “God With Us” and “The Heart of Christmas,” other recent productions there.
“David: The King of Jerusalem” will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, and 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $15 for children 5-12, and are free for those 4 and under who can sit on an adult’s lap. Visit thekingofjerusalem.com.
Parking was tight for the November premiere, but a new 1,000-vehicle garage on the campus should accommodate those attending spring performances. But arrive early to secure a first-come, first-served seat, advised college spokeswoman Eileen Quinn. Doors open 90 minutes before the performance.
Elizabeth Muren is co-directing the production with school coordinator Adam Stone. The Murens connected with Andrew Wommack Ministries about six years ago and moved to Woodland Park from their native Norway in 2015 to work at Charis. Two of their four children are in the cast, which also features Jamie Wommack, wife of college founder Andrew Wommack.
“We just had to do this production again,” Muren said. This time, it will be filmed.
Four professional actors will travel from the Holy Land Experience biblical theme park in Orlando, Fla., to perform in the show, with college students, staff and community members comprising the balance.
Elizabeth Muren is creative director at the Holy Land Experience and splits her time between Orlando and Woodland Park.
“David: The King of Jerusalem” is told from the perspective of an aging King David (Robert Muren) who recounts his succession to the throne during dream sequences. David as a boy is portrayed by Woodland Park fifth-grader Theodor Olofsson. The talented young thespian and singer is the son of Jakob Olofsson, a Charis alumni, opera percussionist and music producer who composed the musical’s score. David as a young man is played by the Murens’ 23-year-old nephew, Ivar Hustadnes Muren, also an accomplished performer.
“The story is about the life of King David, one of the most epic personalities of the Bible. I’m the ‘old’ David now. I remember when I used to be the young, cool one,” Robert Muren joked. “It’s like a flashback to the younger versions of David. It gives multiple dimensions to the story.”
Those familiar with the tale know that David struggled with his faith and was no stranger to sin. The college’s production is family-friendly, though some of David’s actions (adultery, plotting murder) were not.
“Even if someone doesn’t know the Bible story, this musical will still be a great experience,” Quinn said.
Although his past transgressions haunt him, David looks to God for mercy, strength and redemption. God helped David famously defeat Philistine giant Goliath in his younger days and “has a purpose” for him.
As the musical opens, “David is struggling and has a dialogue with God where he says, ‘I don’t want to be a king anymore,’” Muren said.
Bringing this biblical tale to the stage was no easy feat. Managing such a large cast, with so many students, depended on the Murens’ September arrival so they had two months to coordinate the early November premiere, which coincided with the dedication of the new auditorium.
“To get it done in time, with rehearsals and making the sets and costumes, was the biggest challenge,” Muren said.
The Creative Arts School offers a third-year program after the college’s two-year ministry training program, offered at the main campus in Woodland Park and more than 60 Charis campuses worldwide. The Murens’ connection to the Holy Land Experience has created a symbiotic relationship, with some Charis graduates recently recruited to work at the theme park.
Coordinating the filmed portions also took time. Some scenes were filmed in Arkansas and elsewhere, Robert Muren said.
The Murens next will create a musical on the story of Esther for a Nov. 9 performance to coincide with the Women Arise conference there Nov. 7-9.
Look for more original productions at Charis after that.
“We are going to continue to write and come up with new stuff all the time,” Muren said.
Contact the writer, 476-1602