Messiah is a new musical based on the story of Jesus written by Dublin composer, Gavin Byrne.

Presenting the story using urban rhythms...
...choral music,
...epic songs,
and dramatic moments.

"I wanted to contribute to that great musical theatre cannon by writing a new take on the story of Jesus Christ using not just popular musical genres but also hip-hop, gospel and choral music" - Gavin Byrne

Following its successful premiere by the Now and Then Production Company in Dublin, Ireland, April 2017, Messiah is now available to licence for amateur, school and professional groups
The Now and Then Production Company rehearse the premiere of Messiah
The Now and Then Production Company, winner of Tallaght Person of the Year, Arts Section, 2016

Messiah is a musical in two acts

Principle roles include: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Nicodemus, Judas, Peter, four Pharisees, Pilate, children. In addition, there is a full chorus/crowd/dancers. It can be performed as an oratorio or fully staged in either biblical or modern costume. It runs for under two hours. In the premiere production, three of the Pharisees and Pilate were played by women.

The Story

Nicodemus and the Pharisees are important characters in Messiah – they are central to the tense drama played out on stage. The Pharisees' signature song is Lepers and Whores where they poke fun at how Jesus seems to be drawn to those hated in society rather than the so-called ‘chosen’ people whom it is presumed God loves most.’ Nicodemus is there through it all as the one who advocates on Jesus’ behalf. He is an old friend of Jesus’ family and believes in his message.


The musical begins with Nicodemus, introducing the story and outlining the extraordinary life Jesus led.

We first meet Jesus at the sea of Galilee where he engages John the Baptist in an energetic rap conversation; "The prophets say you are the man, who cries aloud, prepare to the crowd. You’ve played your part as God foretold, so see it through, come wash me too."

John the Baptist

"I’ll tell you the future – a feature of a preacher – he dies at the end and can never defend what a God in his heaven makes of his possession. Your pathetic short life will end on a sculpture, made smooth by a carpenter, that’s ironic, that’s what you are." (Scene: Battle, a rap battle between Jesus and the Devil in the desert).

Come on Jesus, holy child of the speechless...

"He likes to hang around the temple – you’ll know he’s there when the crowd swells – you’ll know he’s there because every leper and whore, every cripple and queer seek him out. Start there – that will lead you to him." (Scene: Pharisees plot the arrest of Jesus).

Jesus debates with the Pharisees
Messiah deals with the issues in the world now...
"You see these refugees, fleeing from death and poverty – people will embrace them, one day as I embrace them...The young men, dying from illnesses we can’t even imagine – people will heal them."
We Will Build
The disciples want Jesus to begin a revolution

"Do we take arms and fight in a war, we’ll batter the Romans we’ve learned to abhor, or do we lie down? When is our fighting day?" (Song: Thanksgiving Day).

Thanksgiving Day
The Pharisees sing a drunken ditty mocking Jesus

Oh give me a break, all the lepers and whores can be loved by a God who completely abhors those not from our race, those not from our place - dear Jesus you’ll end up with egg on your face! (Song: Lepers and Whores)

Lepers and Whores
Messiah is fully scored for small orchestra/band and chorus

"Life took my soul, taking its toll, ripping my heart, falling apart from hate. What can I do; I’ll follow you. Where will we go, do you even know, my friend?" (Mary Magdalene sings to Jesus as he sleeps following his Battle with the Devil.)

Now in this place, here I must face your call for faith
Disciples attend a festival while Jesus goes to the synagogue
After spotting Jesus at the Festival, the Pharisees call for his arrest
Eucharist - the last supper

Pilate: Truth? The truth is, you’re a prisoner here and I have no desire to put you to death.

The Trial
Pie Jesu
Original Cast Recording
Digital copies of the original cast recording, featuring some of the songs, are available on request
Gavin Byrne

Gavin Byrne previously wrote A Gospel Line, a musical based on the Gospels. It has been performed in both Ireland and the United States. Gavin is Senior Youth Worker with Foróige, the National Youth Development Organisation. He is a former member of the RTE Philharmonic Choir and the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society. He is guest director with the Now and Then Production Company since 2013 and has directed Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, A Gospel Line and Messiah.

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