LET THERE BE LIGHT
Let There Be Light is a new 90 minute folk-pop musical created by Brianna Barnes. Based on real interviews, Let There Be Light features a unique collection of 13 people's diverse experiences, struggles, and questions to do with Jesus Christ and Christianity in America in 2018. Can the Jesus-lover, the Jesus-hater, and the ex-Jesus follower all have a seat at the same table? And can a space exist in which they can share their most powerful stories and expose their deepest fears about The Church into the light? Through authentic, raw, and provocative storytelling, Let There Be Light invites anyone who has been impacted by the Church, for better or for worse, to break the divisive walls of religion that separate and enter into an illuminated space where one can share and learn from the perspectives of the others.
Let There Be Light is made its NYC Premiere at The Hudson Guild Theater as part of The New York Theatre Festival’s Summerfest 2018!
It received 5 nominations in 4 categories including Best Musical/Play, Best Score, Best Singer(s), and Best Actress. Let There Be Light took home the top prize of BEST MUSICAL/PLAY and also won for BEST SCORE!
Brianna Barnes created the show her senior of college at The University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. With a background in songwriting, she began to craft an idea for a musical about people’s experiences with Jesus Christ. She conducted professional interviews around the Cincinnati area and began piecing together a script while writing new music. Under the supervision of Vince DeGeorge, CCM Musical Theater Faculty, she birthed a workshop featuring 8 CCM students, concluding in a staged performance in the spring of 2016. After moving to New York, Brianna entered Let There Be Light's opening and closing numbers, "Illuminate the Night" and "United" into the New York Musical Festival’s songwriting competition in 2017. Both songs were selected to be featured in NYMF's United We Stand Concert at Green Room 42. The following summer in 2018, Let There Be Light was chosen to compete in New York Theatre Festival’s Summerfest 2018! It was presented as an Equity Showcase for 3 fully staged (and sold out) performances!
“It’s rare to have an overtly Christian production that isn’t over the top, excessively preachy, or worse yet, terribly mediocre... Brianna Barnes’s new work, LET THERE BE LIGHT, though, is none of the above. In fact, its possible that this new theatrical experience might be the best evangelical tool I’ve ever come across... Barnes’s acoustic sensibilities as a songwriter are right in line with contemporary music; her theatrical training helps, too. But the most powerful thing for me was Barnes herself and her direct, frank discussion of what’s wrong with Christianity in 2016...Its the most relevant, sincere and moving thing I’ve heard… in a very long time.”
-Kirk Sheppard, The Sappy Critic (Cincinnati, OH)
Songs from the Show:
Meet the Cast:
Tommy McDowell* (Man 1) National Tours: American Idiot (1st National), Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET (Max/Herman/u/s Cliff); Regional: Urinetown (Bobby Strong), The Who’s TOMMY (Tommy), Hairspray (Link Larkin), Grey Gardens (Joe Kennedy, Jr/Jerry) IG: @tommy_mcdowell www.tommymcdowell.com
Lou Steele* (Man 2) feels truly blessed to be a part of Let There Be Light. Previous roles include Radames in Aida, Chris in Miss Saigon, Jon in tick, tick...BOOM, and Emmett in Legally Blonde. Much love to his wife Laura and two amazing kids, Juliet and Lucas. Thanks to friends and family for constant love and support. Visit www.lousteele.net for more.
Clara Cox* (Woman 1) is thrilled to be joining the cast of Let There Be Light! National Tours: 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer). Regional credits include: Newsies (Katherine) at The Maltz Jupiter Theater, 42nd Street (Lorraine) and Man of La Mancha (Antonia) at The Weston Playhouse, The Addams Family (Wednesday) at The Wagon Wheel Theater. Proud CCM graduate. Endless love to my family, teachers, friends, and CESD. @clarajcox.
Kelsey Crismon* (Woman 2) is so excited to be getting the opportunity to perform in such an amazing piece as Let There Be Light with such a stellar group of people! Kelsey has worked and lived here in NYC for five years now and has also worked internationally at Tokyo Disney, Niagara Symphony, as well as regionally in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Know Theatre of Cincinnati), Side by Side By Sondheim (Liberty Theater), and The King and I (MUNY) to name a few. She's currently dabbling in her own passion projects and spends her days growing in this city, and finding ways to connect people through Christ. You can find her teaching fitness, auditioning, creating and connecting almost everywhere! Shout out to her husband, Reid Morgan. Who has loved her so well through the first year of marriage. TeamKeid.
Trevor Miles (Man 3) is from Coos Bay, Oregon and began his dance training at the Pacific School of Dance at age 17, under the direction of Christine Rader and Connie Hogge. He has studied on scholarship at the American Ballet Theater in New York, as well as Milwaukee Ballet in Wisconsin. Miles attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, where he performed works by Ohad Naharin, Pat Hon, and Timothy Lynch. While in Seattle he also danced as a company member with Ashani Dances, under Artistic Director, Iyun Harrison. While in New York he has danced as a member of Ballet Hispanico Dos, Peridance, and most recently has been a guest artist with the Company of Dance Arts. His favorite theater credits include Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Pepper), and Oklahoma, at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theater.
Sarah Bishop*(Woman 3) grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, a small town north of Pittsburgh. After high school, she decided to focus on theatre and attended the University of Cincinnati’s College- Conservatory of Music where she earned her BFA in Musical Theater. While in school, she also attended various workshops including The School at Jacob’s Pillow Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance Program. Shortly after moving to NYC, she started touring with Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony award winning production of Cabaret as Helga. She has also been seen in Geva Theatre Center’s The Other Josh Cohen and in Lincoln Park Performing Arts production of The Sound of Music as Maria. Other favorites include ELLE in Legally Blonde and Lina Lamont in Singin In the Rain. Sarah currently studies comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade and loves to compose and play the trumpet and piano.
Alison Bagli (Woman 4)is so excited to be joining the cast of Let There Be Light! Favorite past credits include Anna in Frozen on Disney Cruise Line and Ariel in The Little Mermaid (twice... yes. You are being graced with royalty!) She met Brianna in college, and has always been so inspired by her work- and is so thrilled to help share it with the world! — with Alison Bagli.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia now based in New York, Calli McRae (Woman 5) is a stage and film actor, storyteller, and artist whose goal is to connect to the human experience in a fresh and interesting way. New York Theatre Credits: Peace, Love and Cupcakes (New York Musical Festival); Chance (Fresh Fruit Festival). National Tour Credits: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Feature Film Credits: To Us (Lead). Calli loves working on projects with artists who are passionate and dedicated to creating new, bold art and sharing untold stories.
Lori Eure* (Woman 6) is thrilled to be a part of this incredible new production. Broadway: Cabaret (98' revival ) Sally Bowles cover/Swing. National tour: 1st and 2nd National tour Cabaret , The Buddy Holly Story. Favorite Regional Theatre: WeWill Rock You (Las Vegas Cast) Women of Woodstock, Ring of Fire,The Buddy Holly Story, Footloose, Beehive at The Kennedy Center. TV credits include: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno , and Spin City. Favorite quote “I don’t think the thing is so much to be well known as it is to be worth knowing.” (Dwight Berry)
Yolette Josey (Woman 7)went to school as a vocal major at the Fiorello H LaGuardia HS of Music and Art and the Performing arts in which she was cast in their operatic productions of Naughty Marietta and Kismet. She then went off to Texas to study music and worship at Acquire the Fire’s school of worship in which she led contemporary music/gospel bands and the dance team. She has been a traveling artist since 2013 singing, dancing, playing piano or guitar, and acting in Mexico, Ecuador, Norway, Brazil, Chicago, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey and New York City. NYC is where she grew up taking part in a repertory company for vocal, dance and acting instruction. She’s excited to return to her love of the theater and grow as an artist in Let there Be Light.
Michelle Girolami (Woman 8) has appeared in commercial campaigns for Delta, Nikon, and Verizon. Some of her favorite stage roles include Miranda (The Tempest) Arnold (The Woodstove), and Mae (Astronauts Wanted). She is currently in post production for a film she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in, "Winning." Founding member of the theatre company, the MT+NYC Collaborative. Proudly represented by Ingrid French Management. NYU. She lives in Brooklyn with her amazing husband, Spencer Cohen and their grouchy but wonderful cat, Miss Moo Baggins.
Madeline Lynch (Woman 9) is truly honored to be a part of such a meaningful and poignant work as Let There Be Light. She was recently seen regionally in the Jason Robert Brown Musical Festival with the Outvisible Theatre Company. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from CCM where she performed in Legally Blonde (Paulette), Peter Pan (Mrs. Darling), Singin in the Rain (Dora Bailey), The Threepenny Opera (Mrs. Peachum), and more. Other favorite credits include The Will Rogers Follies (Ziegfeld’s Favorite), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie), and American Idiot (St. Jimmy). Much love and thanks to those who bring the light to her life! — with Madeline Lynch.
Brianna Barnes (Woman 10) is the writer, director, and producer of Let There Be Light. Regional: Brigadoon (Fiona u/s) at The Wick, Some People Hear Thunder (Ensemble) at Capital Rep, Mamma Mia (Ensemble) at Theatre Aspen, Gypsy (Louise) at CCPA (LCT Nomination),and the title role in Mary Poppins at The Renaissance Theater. Proud graduate of CCM. She continues to songwrite and create, and is thrilled to see her first work premiere in NYC! All glory to the Light. @brianna_barnes_
There are many expenses associated with mounting a new theater work. Some of these costs include Actor Stipends, Sound Equipment and Engineer, Printing Programs, Rehearsal Space Rental, and Musician Stipends. If you feel the desire in your heart to partner with me and support the process of this production, click the button above to be taken to our GoFundMe Donation Page.