“Clown of God”, an Italian folktale retold by Tomie de Paola.

clownMany years ago, when my children were children, it was a great pleasure to read them stories. And a favorite was Tomie de Paola’s classic, The Clown of God. A dear friend, and frequent collaborator, Tom Kavanaugh had the same experience within his family circle. And so, we embarked on a creative project. We wrote songs and music to bring this beautiful book to life.

It is an unconventional musical theater piece. Part cantata, part ballet, part storytelling, The Clown of God becomes a modern day descendant of the medieval miracle play. It tells the story of Giovanni, a boy who goes from the streets of Sorrento to the courts of Europe, celebrating the joy of living through his gift of performance.

Great things, small things, each and all things, all give glory, all are holy. Young lives, old lives, highborn and lowly, all give glory to our God. Every creature, earth and sky, every rock and every flower, sing to his wondrous love and praise his holy name.

(The Clown of God:Great Things, Small Things)

This Christmas season we will bring The Clown of God down from the shelf and share it. The creative team of Tom Wethington, director, Zoe VonderHaar, choreographer, Steve Neale, music director, and Ethan Shavers, technical director, are in place to present two performances, December 29 and 30, at St. Margaret of Scotland. The wonderful choir of St. Margaret provides the choral foundation with additional singers from the Symphony Chorus, St. Louis Chamber Chorus, Cathedral and College Church choirs.

What we still need, to make The Clown of God a beautiful gift to the Shaw and St. Margaret’s community, is the support of friends. We plan to set ticket prices at a level that is affordable for just about anyone: $15 and $7.50. We will also offer VIP tickets for $50, and these will include a convivial reception after the performance. Additionally, we invite organizations, businesses and individuals to sponsor this project as Friends ($250), Associates ($500), or Patrons ($1,000).

If this is not a good fit at this time, I certainly understand. But I do hope to see you in the audience this December as we fight off the darkness with song and story, brimming with light and hope.

Humble shepherd, glorious king,
Carried their gifts of joy to the stable.
What have we to give? Oh, what have we to bring?
Tale to tell and song to sing! (The Clown of God: Conductus and Carol)

Peter Hesed

We have been asked to spread the word about a special performance based on this story which will take place at St. Margaret of Scotland.   The following is Peter’s letter to us with more information.  Contact Debbie Monolo with questions, debbiemonolo@gmail.com or 314-458-5209.  Hope to see you there.


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