Meet Anne Jones, Co-Creator Of ‘Artaban The Musical’. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I would like you to meet Anne Jones, Co-Creator Of ‘Artaban The Musical‘. Anne Jones is a spiritual healer, author of seven books translated into 18 languages. And co-creator of ‘Artaban The Musical’ based on the book ‘The Fourth Wise Man’ by Henry van Dyke.
Meet Anne Jones, Co-Creator Of ‘Artaban The Musical’
Hello Anne, It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Thank you for having me.
How a little red book sparked the idea to write a musical?
Over ten years ago, Daphne, my friend since we were eleven, handed me a little red book, “Have a read of this; I think you will enjoy it,” she said. An elderly man at her Church had passed it to her and suggested, “You will know what to do with this”.
What is the story behind ‘Artaban The Musical’?
The book that we adapted into the musical is ‘The Other Wise Man’, written by Henry van Dyke, an American writer and poet from the twentieth century. It’s the story of a fourth wise man, a Persian Zoroastrian who worshipped Mazda the Lord of Light. Like the other three wise men, he set out to see Jesus at his birth with his gift of three gemstones; a ruby, a pearl, and a sapphire. However, Artaban, this fourth magi, missed his planned rendezvous with the other Magi because he stopped to help an older man calling for assistance from the side of the road.
He then had to travel alone and purchase his caravan. However, when he arrived at Bethlehem, he realised he had missed his opportunity of seeing Jesus and his family as they had already left for Egypt. The book follows Artaban’s journey for many years as he continues to meet the new king, prophesied to save the world from corruption and greed. But he is continually drawn from his quest by his compassion to help anyone in need he meets along the way.
He faces the dilemma of following his desire to meet Jesus or helping those in need. And he has a kind and generous heart but constantly feels he has failed and let down Jesus by not reaching him; he is a tale of sacrifice and love.
How Did The Story Come to Life as a Musical?
As I read the book, I became entranced with my vision – seeing the story on the stage as a musical! I asked Daphne if she would write a script if I wrote the songs, and she immediately agreed. Our journey then started, and like Artaban’s, it has been tortuous with dead ends and setbacks. But it has also been incredibly joyful and a lot of fun!
How Is This Venture A Complete Departure From Your Earlier Lives And Careers?
Since she was twenty, Daphne excelled in amateur dramatics as an actor, singer and director, but she had never written a script (the book in theatre speak). I was in the computer industry for many years until I had a unique spiritual experience and started healing at fifty. And I then travelled the world teaching and healing. I have written and published ten books, but I can’t sing a note in tune, and I have never written a song. So, to say we both had steep learning curves would be an underestimation of the challenge we took on.
Do you Mind Sharing The dead-ends, setbacks and fun along the way?
We faced the first hurdle of finding a musician who could feel Henry’s story’s soul and write uplifting and exhilarating music. We spent five years looking!
I have a sense that Henry (van Dyke, the book’s author) eventually decided to get involved! In January, six years ago, I was introduced by my old friend Sashi to her new husband, Rick Radley. And, yes, you’ve guessed, he is a rock musician and songwriter. His first reaction when I approached him was, “I’m a rock guitarist – this is out of my genre.”
But when he read the story, he too became enthralled and took my first song home to see what he could do. The following day, I had a phone call, “come over and see what you think”. He had gone to bed with the words whirling in his head and wake up with a melody and ideas; still, in his pyjamas, he went out to his garage where he kept his recording equipment. Within hours he had the first draft of Mazda, the opening song. As my husband and I listened to the haunting melody, my heart stood still. It was fabulous.
There followed six weeks of me writing songs and sending them over to Rick, who rose in the small hours with his head full of the music to match my words. It was a magical time. I don’t know when I was so immersed and inspired.
We wrote love songs, rock numbers and ballads – all produced with Rick sitting on a radiator in his garage to keep warm. While we were writing the songs, Daphne wrote the book and developed the characters – and added a few extra twists and turns to make the story come to life for the stage.
Please Tell us About The team involved in the Artaban, The Musical’ Production.
We have now mastered all the music Kipper Eldridge, the musical producer for many of Sting’s tracks. And we have created a website and added the songs. We have put on a workshop in London with West End performers and a live band to sample the show to friends and family. With the help of Ron Aldridge, a professional director and accomplished playwright with West End experience, we are now getting ready for our full showcase, which will be held in Covent Garden in November.
We have a cast of West End performers, and we are excited – and nervous – beyond measure!
How in the mid-70s Did You and Daphe learn so much, been uplifted and enriched?
We have all been tested and stretched and are enthralled with the journey we have taken. Thanks to Henry, we have been encouraged to step through our fear of the unknown. We have been given a new zest for life, a chance to discover the world of musical theatre and to meet people far out of our everyday life experience.
Why do you recommend finding a new challenge, whatever your age, and what should that challenge involve?
We have learnt so much since we met Artaban, and our lives have been seriously uplifted and enriched. Writing a musical may not be your chosen path. Still, from my experience, I would recommend you find a new challenge that:
- jolts you out of your rut,
- stretches your mind and talents.
- It gives you a new enthusiasm for life,
- encourages you to step through the limitations of fear.
- It offers a powerful motivation for getting up each day,
- exhilarates you and offers a chance of fun and adventure.
I want to say a huge Thank you to Anne Jones for sharing this inspiring interview meet me.
For more information about ‘Artaban, The Musical’ (and to listen to some of the original music), see https://artabanthemusical.co.uk/.
To book tickets: https://actorschurch.ticketsolve.com/shows/873618294
I hope you enjoyed that.