‘Bethlehem’ comes to Kauai

LIHUE — As one of the Magi in the Christmas musical, “Tonight in Bethlehem,” Ekolu Kelley is stepping out of his comfort zone.

And that, he said, is a good thing. Christmas, after all, is one of his favorite times of the year.

“I like serving the Lord,” he said. 

Kelley is pleased to be part of the production that includes a cast and crew of about 100 and said he likes the way the production is coming together to share a wonderful message of the season.

“Awesome,” he said.  “I encourage everybody to come in, try it out and watch the show.”

That show is scheduled 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at King’s Chapel church in Hanamaulu. It’s the 15th year for the annual free production that tells the story of the birth of Jesus. There will be a few opening acts, an intermission, and then the main event.

Pastor Steve Franks and wife Vickie are not only overseeing direction, but have roles. Steve is a shepherd and Vickie plays his wife. Rehearsals began a few weeks ago and, with opening night just two days off, it’s shaping into another great show. Vickie Franks said there are a few modern twists and many musical numbers that make it a fast-paced performance that will keep the attention of adults and keiki.

“It’s a tradition people want to have on Christmas,” Steve Franks said.

While it’s a lot of work, both said they enjoy being part of the musical with a message.

“The main reason is to get everybody involved in telling people the story of Jesus,” Steve Franks said. 

It’s also a chance to invite those to hear the Christmas story who otherwise might be a little skittish about coming to church. Some may have grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other relatives in the performances. It’s also just a great, free musical people will enjoy.

“It’s makes them feel a little more comfortable,” Steve Franks said.

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