!Hero: The Rock Opera
- Monday, September 01, 2003
Christian music has tried just about every musical venture and fad the world has to offer. But not till now has anyone tried a full-fledged rock opera in the vein of The Who's
DeGarmo, half of the '80s Christian rock duo DeGarmo & Key and co-founder of ForeFront Records (dc Talk, Rebecca St. James, Audio Adrenaline), felt a burden for the MTV generation, seeing how few of its legionnaires knew the significance of the Easter story. DeGarmo called buddy Bob Farrell to help him create
For the project, DeGarmo & Co. sought relevant musical figures who could wrap their arms around this vision and communicate it as their own, recruiting names that, though not necessarily "edgy" or "hip," are at the forefront (no pun intended) of the Christian pop world. The lead three roles are all held by ForeFront artists: Michael Tait, the dreadlocked one-third of dc Talk, playing the lead role of Hero, a modern-day Jesus; Rebecca St. James, playing the role of Maggie, a contemporary Mary Magdalene; and Audio Adrenaline frontman Mark Stuart, playing Petrov, a modern-day Peter. The ForeFront Who's Who roster will certainly attract Christian music fans, but what about non-evangelicals who've never heard of Tait, St. James or Stuart? Will they listen? Will they even notice?
The studio version, reviewed here, finds Hero going through a series of biblical events (all set in New York City), most of them updated to fit the times, leading up to his death for the Big Apple. After a brief intro by Special Agent Hunter (Paul Wright), Act 1 kicks things off with the pop/rocker "A Few Good Men," which tells the story of when Jesus was looking for disciples. Here, we're introduced to Petrov (played by Stuart) and Jude (played by producer Quinlan), who early on do a fine job of developing their characters. True Love Waits proponent St. James, in a twist of irony, plays the promiscuous Maggie on "Secrets of the Heart," a synthesized, Latin-tinged number recalling early Gloria Estefan. St. James offers her "services" to Hero, who turns down her proposal, encouraging her to follow him.
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