THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF JUAN DIEGO
Music, Lyrics, and Book by LUCE AMEN
THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF JUAN DIEGO is the inspirational new musical written by composer and playwright LUCE AMEN, native of San Antonio and currently a resident of New York City. It is the ageless story of a humble person\'s extraordinary walk to greatness.
Set in Mexico in 1531, THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF JUAN DIEGO intertwines three cultures: Indian, Spanish, and Mexican.
The drama and music are inspired by the story of a stunning set of events in the life of Juan Diego, a humble Aztec matmaker. The musical portrays Juan Diego\'s encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe - Mary, Mother of Jesus - and his extraordinary efforts to do what Mary asks. She tells him to build a church for her on Tepeyac Hill overlooking Mexico City. In order to do this, Juan Diego must win the trust and support of the powerful Spanish bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga.
Over several grueling days of eight-hour round-trip journeys by foot, Juan Diego endures the cruel taunts of Bishop Zumarraga’s aides each time he arrives in Mexico City to try and convince the religious leader. He suffers intense feelings of self-doubt combined with overwhelming waves of guilt for neglecting his frail, elderly, beloved uncle Juan Bernardino, as Juan Diego attempts to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission.
Against great odds, Juan Diego pursues his goal with faith, determination, and perseverance, resulting in a miraculous conclusion. With drama and humor, this musical production also begins and ends with a modern-day event which mirrors the challenge, struggle, epiphany, and triumph of Juan Diego’s amazing journey.
Eighteen surprisingly varied songs, including pop, rock, contemporary flamenco, mariachi, and soaring ballads, fill the drama with beautiful, moving, and memorable music.
The production AMAZING JOURNEY required five years of writing, three trips to Mexico City, and countless hours of research.
AMAZING JOURNEY has been presented to enthusiastic audiences as one-woman and small-ensemble versions of varying lengths in Mexico City, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, and New York City.
With its passionate, colorful music and inspiring story, AMAZING JOURNEY reaches its glory as a fully-developed, staged production - a \"Mexico meets Broadway\" show that is part \'rock musical\' and part \'traditional Broadway.\' With an 86-page book and twenty songs, it is now primed and ready for full development by a theater company.
*** \"The music is breathtaking!\"
- ANGELO PARRA, playwright and author of the Off-Broadway hit \"The Devil\'s Music: The Life and Times of Bessie Smith\"
*** \"A compelling story . . . dramatic songs complete with soaring melody lines and interesting harmonies . . . a refreshing new musical.\"
- DOUGLAS J. COHEN, Award winning composer-lyricist / Drama
Desk nominee, \"No Way to Treat a Lady,\" \"Children\'s Letters to God\"
*** \"A powerful and uplifting storyline . . . The songs are wonderfully varied and move the drama along, always at just the right place. This is a gem!\"
- BOB DALEY, Production Manager, TheatreworksUSA
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HOW THIS MUSICAL CAME ABOUT
One day in 1995, Luce Amen walked into Tower Records in Austin, where her albums were on sale. While she was chatting with the salesman, he handed her a small book. On its cover was a picture of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe. This was his own personal volume. He presented it to Amen and said, “You should write about this.” She took the book, thanked the salesman, and left, wondering how she would ever be able to return the book to him. When the playwright arrived back home in New York the next day, she put the book on a shelf.
Some time later, Amen’s two-year-old son pulled the book from the shelf and opened it. She glanced at a few of the pages and felt it was time to read it so she could return it to the man who had given it to her. She read the story and found that it had an unexpected, rather compelling interest for her. Amen started to take notes and, over the next weeks, months, and years, found herself reading more books about the subject, writing songs, and developing scenes for the drama.
Amen states, “I was very busy being a mom and professional musician, so I could only work on the project in bits and pieces. Sometimes weeks went by with time for only ten or twenty-minute segments to give to the project, and other times I was able to carve out longer periods, usually late at night. In fact, one of the show\'s most popular songs is called \'I’ll Always Care for You.\' I wrote that on an early morning flight out of Atlanta, after performing at a gala the night before. I’ve learned to carry music staff paper and pencils with me, because you never know when you might come up with some new lyrics or a melody. Through these past years of working on this, I kept getting signs along the way to continue, even though I often didn’t see how I could find the time to do it. This project wouldn’t let me rest until I saw it through to completion.”
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ABOUT LUCE AMEN
Composer, playwright, and performer Luce Amen has been writing music and lyrics ever since she began her professional career as a vocalist/guitarist. She has recorded seven albums with her band, featuring Luce as lead vocalist. Her first five albums are largely original songs (country/rock/pop) including her Tex-Mex hit VIVA FIESTA, which honors the annual \"Fiesta\" celebration in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Luce\'s sixth and seventh CD\'s feature international hits in ten languages.
Ms. Amen has performed as a solo artist and with her band throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe. She currently resides in New York City.
THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF JUAN DIEGO is Ms. Amen\'s first musical.