The Manger Masterpiece

a musical by Raymond J Lombardi

(Note: a royalty is required for this script. For conditions, see details at the foot of the script.)

Summary

The famous artist Bernardo da Vinci has been sent by the Emperor of Rome to paint a masterpiece. But he nearly misses the real masterpiece in the manger.

Script

Choir sings "Something's Gonna Happen In Bethlehem Tonight"

Something's Gonna Happen In Bethlehem Tonight
words & music by Ray Lombardi
Everybody listen
Everyone draw near
You must pay attention
listen and you'll hear
Music in the heavens
You'll see a wondrous sight
Something's gonna happen in Bethlehem tonight
Something's gonna happen
Somethings's gonna happen
Something's gonna happen
in Bethlehem tonight
Such anticipation
Excitement fills the air
I can feel it coming
but I don't know from where
Bethlehem is waiting
This quiet little town
Something's gonna happen in Bethlehem tonight
A long time ago
A prophet named Micah
Proclaimed the Messiah would come
Could this be it?
The day for which we've all been waiting
Could this be what the feeling is from?
Something's gonna happen
Somethings's gonna happen
Something's gonna happen
in Bethlehem tonight

Opening Scene: The hillside of Bethlehem. There on the slope stands an artist. . . he has a large easel in front of him with a jumbo-sized paper pad on the easel. As the scene opens our artist, Bernardo Da Vinci, is mumbling to himself as he attempts to sketch. After a few seconds he gets mad, tears off the page he has been working on, crumples it up and throws it on the ground. . . then begins another. he does this several times, getting more frustrated with each attempt! Along comes a couple from from the town, who stop to see what Bernardo Da Vinci is working on. . . they peer at the sketch and finally ask the question:

Lucius: "Hey man, what 'cha working on there?"

(Bernardo ignores them as if they weren't even there)

Elandra: "I don't think he heard you, Lucius. Ask him again!"

Lucius: "I don't want to ask him. . . YOU ask him!"

Elandra: "Go on! Don't be so shy. What's he going to do, bite your head off?"

Bernardo: "I just MIGHT be tempted to do that if you two don't LEAVE ME ALONE!"

Lucius, to Elandra: "See! Now you've got him all mad at us! He's probably not a real artist anyway."

Bernardo: "Now just a minute there! Are you saying you don't know who I am?"

Elandra: "Ah, yeah, we don't have a clue" (sarcastically)

Bernardo: "And you don't recognize my work?"

Lucius: "Haven't really seen any yet. . . except for all this litter!" (points to the crumbled up papers on the ground)

Bernardo: "And the name BERNARDO DA VINCI means nothing to you?"

Elandra: "I once had a cousin named DALores, but, no, I can't say it does. . . "

Lucius: "So, tell us who you are!"

Bernardo: "I am BERNARDO DA VINCI, artist in residence for the court of Caesar Augustus himself! I am undoubtedly the greatest artist in all of Rome! Nay, all of the Roman Empire!"

Elandra, aside to Lucius: "And so humble, too!"

Lucius: So, Mr. Da Vinci, what in the world are you doing out here on the slopes of Bethlehem? Shouldn't you be off painting some Roman goddess? What brings you here?"

Bernardo, long sigh: "Ah. . . it is a long and sad story. The truth is, the Emperor has grown tired of all the gods and goddesses and wishes me to create something different - something unique - something timeless - something. . .

Lucius: "Creative, perhaps?"

Bernardo: "Ah, yes, that's it! Creative! Any ideas?"

Elandra: "I don't think we can help you. Lucius here is the Innkeeper of that little Inn right over there (points to the imaginary Inn) and I just do the wash and wait tables. We're not very creative people. The most creative we get is when we gotta figure out how to accommodate 43 guests in a 18-bed Inn! That's why we went to town - everyone's jammin' up the Inn because of this census."

Bernardo: "Yes, the Emperor does have quite a preoccupation for numbers. . . "

Lucius: "Look, here comes another couple now. . . little do they realize that they have a better chance of sleeping on the moon than getting a bed in our Inn tonight! (Mary and Joseph begin making their way towards Bernardo, Elandra and Lucius)

Elandra: "But look, Lucius, she's going to have a baby!"

Lucius: "Oh no, Elandra, NOT ANOTHER CHARITY CASE! We already gave up our parlor to those heathens from Jericho! There's not another square inch of space left!"

Mary and Joseph reach the others and Joseph approaches Lucius. . .

Joseph: "Pardon me, sir, but I heard from the townspeople that you have an Inn here in Bethlehem. . . "

Lucius" "We're FULL."

Elandra: Lucius! Don't be rude! Of course we'll be glad to put you up."

Lucius: "BUT. . . "

Elandra, interrupting: "Lucius, there's no one in the stable"

Lucius: "YES there is. . . Moodygirl, Longears and Spotted Boy are in there!"

Elandra: "But those are just SHEEP. Lucius, what do you have to say to these fine folks?"

Lucius: "Welcome to the stable!"

CHOIR SINGS "WELCOME TO THE STABLE"

Welcome to the Stable
words & music by Ray Lombardi
Welcome to the stable
Welcome little one
Sent by God the Father
Mary's precious son
Welcome to the stable
This humble little stall
Welcome to the stable
Welcome from us all
It wasn't very clean
It was dim and cold and bare
But the moment Christ was born
All that gathered there
felt the glow of God's love
as bright as morning sun
Welcome to the stable
God's precious little one
It may not be a palace
with many rooms to spare
It may not be a castle
fit for a royal heir
It's just a little stable
But it is what God chose
To be the birthplace of His Son
A place where His love glows

After song is over, Elandra, Lucius, Mary and Joseph depart for the stable. Bernado exclaims:

Bernardo: "Ah! A stable! Yes, the masterpiece needs a stable. . . "

Bernardo begins drawing furiously on the pad and continues to do so for a minute or so.

SCENE 2: Four hours laters. . .

A little girl runs by. Bernardo, curious, calls out to the girl.

Bernardo: "Young lady! . . . Hey, you! Where are you going?"

Atasha: "Sorry, Mister, I really gotta run. . . did you hear what's happening up at the Inn? Jesus was born! I'm goin' up there now to see him!"

Bernardo: "Who's Jesus?"

Atasha: "You don't know who JESUS is?" Where've you been, Egypt? Jesus is GOD'S SON. Didn't you hear the angels a few minutes ago?"

Bernardo, confused: "Angels. . . God's Son. . . what in the name of Caesar are you talking about?"

Atasha: "The angels. . . Oh, they were soooooooo beautiful! And do they ever have a set of lungs! Why, I could hear them all the way from my father's vineyard on the other side of the valley. . . you mean you didn't hear them? What are you, deaf? Anyway, these angels, they were all dressed in these white robes. . . boy, I've never seen such clean clothes! And everything they wore actually matched! Try finding that here in Bethlehem! But you know what I loved the most?"

Bernardo, wearying of the girl now: "I'm sure you'll tell me. . . "

Atasha: "The WINGS!" They have the most extraordinary wings! Big and strong and fluttering the whole time they were singing!

Bernardo: "So, what were they singing?"

Atasha: "They were singing "GLORIA"

Choir sings "GLORIA"

Gloria
words & music by Ray Lombardi
Gloria, gloria, gloria, gloria
Gloria in exclesis deo
Gloria, gloria, gloria gloria
Gloria in exclesis deo
That is what the angels sang
On that holy night
Glory be to God on high
Peace here on earth
and goodwill to all men
For Jesus Christ is born
tonight in Bethlehem!
This is what the shepherds heard
while watching o'er their flocks
on the hills of Bethlehem
The angels sang of joy
for Jesus Christ was born
Go and see the child
this very Christmas morn

Following the choir song, Atasha runs off, and Bernardo goes back to his drawing. . .

Bernardo: "Hm, angels in the sky above the stable. . . a very nice touch. But how will I explain this to Caesar?"

Bernardo continues to draw as a group of shepherds approach him.

Goshemiah: "Look boys, maybe this gent knows what's going on. Excuse me, sir, have you by any chance seen. . . "

Bernardo: "Angels in the sky?"

Goshemiah: "Why, yes. . . did they happen to mention. . . "

Bernardo: "Where Jesus was to be born?"

Goshemiah: "Wow - yes again! Are you some kind of prophet?"

Bernardo: "Prophet? Please! My name is Bernardo Da Vinci, chief artist-in-residence in the courts of our master, Caesar Augustus. Known throughout the Roman Empire for my innovative and cutting-edge drawings of the Roman gods and goddesses! Here on special assignment for Caesar. I am working on a masterpiece that will take a place of prominence in the home of Caesar himself. I'm going to call it . . . "Manger Masterpiece".

The shepherds all gather around looking at the drawing, studying it for a moment or two when they all start talking about it among themselves. . .

Marcus: "I think it's missing something. . . what do you think, Jubal?"

Bernardo: "What!? What's missing?"

Jubal: "Ah, yes, I see what you mean! They're definitely missing!"

Bernardo: "Who's missing? What are you talking about!"

Goshemiah: "I see it, too. . . a serious oversight!"

Bernardo: "Enough! What is missing? Tell me!"

Shepherds, all together: "SHEPHERDS!"

Bernardo: "Ah, yes. . . of course! What are sheep without shepherds!

Thank you! Caesar thanks you! Caesar's mother thanks you!"

Goshemiah: "Come on, guys, let's get up to the stable before this guy makes us POSE for him. . . besides, we want to see the baby Jesus BEFORE his 1st birthday!" Bernardo continues drawing, mumbling to himself, while the angels make their way over to the stable.

Choir sings: Shepherds are the salt of the Earth

words & music by Ray Lombardi
Shepherds are the salt of the earth
You cannot put a price on their worth
The work all day and all night long
They care for the sheep as they whistle a song
They're strong and tough as they need to be
Most are as sturdy as an old oak tree
Shepherds are the salt of the earth
Shepherds are the salt of the earth
Maybe that's why God choose them
'Cause they're common folks just like me
And because God really knows them
He knew that they would love to see
The baby Jesus in a manger
A place where sheep would lay
God knew the shepherds would bow and adore him
All throughout that day, 'cause
Shepherds are the salt of the earth
Shepherds are the salt of the earth

Bernardo continues to draw and mumble, finally looking up and realizing that night is approaching. . .

Bernardo, speaking out to the audience: "Goodness, it's almost dusk! I just get so wrapped up in my work I forget about the time, I forget about eating, I even forget to brush my teeth! But this masterpiece is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Of course, I'm not really sure what Caesar is going to think of it. . . and I wonder what all this fuss is over this baby. Hundreds, even thousands of babies are born every single day. Just who is this baby Jesus, anyway?"

Music begins. . . Bernardo sings "Who Is This Baby Jesus?"

Who Is This Baby Jesus?

words & music by Ray Lombardi

All around the town such commotion
Everyone is filled with the notion
That the little child that was born tonight is God's only Son
It is really so confusing
And I think it's kind of amusing
But do I think it's true that this little one is God's only Son?
Chorus:
Who is this Baby Jesus?
Who is this little One
Who is this Baby Jesus
Is he really God's own Son?
Why else would everyone around be filled up with such joy
Why else except that this really is God's little boy
Could this be a day to remember?
Will we celebrate in December?
A party for the child that was born tonight as God's only Son?
Will he fill the prophet's prediction
And save the world from sin's affliction
This tiny child born in a stable, this tiny little child?
Everyday there are children born
But on this very special morn
Only one child had a party thrown by angels in the sky

After Bernardo finishes, he begins to put his supplies into his sack and put things away, when three "wiseman" approach him.

Wiseman #1: "Excuse me, sir, we were wondering if. . . "

Bernardo: "Let me guess. . . you're looking for the baby Jesus?"

Wiseman #2, to Wiseman #3: "Wow! First the star, now this guy's reading our minds! What'll happen next?!"

Wiseman #1: "So you've seen him?"

Bernardo: "Seen who?"

Wiseman #3: "The baby Jesus! Have you seen him?"

Bernardo: "I'm afraid not. My name is Bernardo Da Vinci, chief artist-in-residence in the courts of our master, Caesar Augustus. Known throughout the Roman Empire for my life-like and superb drawings of the the Roman gods and goddesses! Here on special assignment for Caesar. I am working on a masterpiece that will take a place of prominence in the home of Caesar himself. Why, my reputation is known throughout the world. . . "

Wiseman #2: "I've never heard of you."

Wiseman #1: "Me neither!"

Wiseman #3 "Bernardo WHO?"

Bernardo: "Why am I bothering to tell you all this anyway. . . Who are YOU?"

Wiseman #1: "We come from afar."

Wiseman #2: "Yes from afar"

Wiseman #3: "From VERY far."

Wiseman #1: "We've been following the star"

Bernardo: "The star?"

Wiseman #2: "Yes, the star"

Wiseman #3: "That's right, the star!"

Bernardo: "Which star? There's a million of 'em up there!" (Bernardo looks up like he's studying the heavens, but obviously not in the right direction!)

Wiseman #1: "Gee, for an artist you're not very observant!"

Wiseman #2: "Yeah, and you're not even looking in the right direction!"

Wiseman #3: "The star's in the EAST. . . you DO know what direction that is, don't you?"

Bernardo: "Of course, don't be silly. . . it's right over there." (Bernardo points to the WEST, so wiseman #2 and wiseman #3 grab him and turn him around so he's pointing in the right direction)

Wiseman #1: "NOW do you see it?"

Bernardo: "Ah, yes! I see it now. . . hmm, it's right over the stable, actually. . . I need to work this into my masterpiece!" (Bernardo continues to mumble to himself while the three wiseman leave to go to the manger.)

The Choir Sings "The Star Shone Bright Over Bethlehem"

The Star Shone Bright Over Bethlehem

words & music by Ray Lombardi
Chorus
The star shone bright over Bethlehem
The star shone bright over Bethlehem
The star shone bright over Bethlehem
Over Bethlehem on that Christmas night!
Over Bethlehem on that Christmas night!
Verse 1
It was a special star
A star of great worth
It could be seen from afar
Anywhere on the earth
It's light was strong and true
It's glow a silver hue
For it shone the way to the place where Jesus lay
Verse 2
It was a guiding star
That made the pathway clear
To the manger stall
To the little one so dear
It smiled upon the earth
It shone down on the birth
of the Savior born in Bethlehem that night!
The star shone so bright over Bethlehem that night
The star shone so bright over Bethlehem that night
The star shone so bright over Bethlehem that night!

Bernardo continues his drawing/painting etc, working very hard. . . The shepherds, wisemen, Lucius, Elandra and Atasha all come back to see what Bernardo has 'created'. As they gather around the painting they begin whispering to themselves. . .

everyone recognizes that the painting is VERY good, but it's also missing something very important.

Bernardo is getting a little nervous and anxious about what they are saying. Finally, Atasha speaks up. . .

Atasha: "Mr. Da Vinci?"

Bernardo: "Yes, yes, what is it?"

Atasha: "Your picture is very nice."

Bernardo: "Why, thank you. . . I think Caesar will be very impressed, especially when he sees the great detail I have. . . "

Atasha, interrupting him: "BUT it's missing the most important thing!"

Bernardo: 'What! What's missing now! You people are never satisfied! No one appreciates a true artist any more! You try to please everyone, and this is what you get!"

Atasha: "Mr Da Vinci?"

Bernardo: "What is it now?"

Atasha: "Your picture isn't the masterpiece. . . JESUS is the masterpiece. If you make Jesus the most important thing in your picture, THEN it will be a masterpiece, too!"

Elandra: "Atasha is right, Mr. Da Vinci. . . your painting is very nice, but it's not worth three shekels if you don't put the baby Jesus in there."

Wiseman #1: "Think of it this way. . . some day, many many years from now, people will look at YOUR painting when they want to picture this great moment in their mind. You were at the right place at the right time! You have recorded the most important event in history! The birth of the Lord Jesus!"

Wiseman #2: "Yes! It was truly amazing! The Son of God came to live with us! He came because He is the Messiah, the one the prophets foretold long ago. He will be great, and he will give his life to save the world from sin. It's a miracle that will be celebrated every single year at His birthday!"

Bernardo: "So, let me get this straight. . . you think I should make JESUS the main object of my painting?"

Everyone: "YES!"

Bernardo: "And that is because Jesus is the Son of God?"

Everyone: "YES!"

Bernardo: "And because Jesus came here to save us from our sins?"

Everyone: "YES!"

Bernardo: "Then Jesus IS the Masterpiece. . . and I, Bernardo Da Vinci, will be HIS artist-in-chief! Why, I'll create magnificent paintings of him! I'll paint him on the walls of the buildings in Rome. I'll paint him on the ceilings! I'll make great statues of him for the city parks! I'll. . .

Lucius, to the others: "Good grief. . . will he never stop? Let's get back to the stable and worship the real masterpiece!"

Everyone leaves Bernardo, who is still ranting and raving about what he is going to do, and heads back to the stable. . .

Choir sings "Jesus is the Masterpiece"

Jesus Is the Masterpiece
with
"Beautiful Savior" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him" (Public Domain)
words & music by Ray Lombardi
He was a picture of God's redeeming love
framed in glory - sent from above
against a landscape of hopelessness and sin
God created a masterpiece of flesh and skin
Jesus was the Masterpiece
Jesus was the Masterpiece
Perfect artistry and beauty became a man
when Jesus became the Masterpiece
Beautiful Savior,
King of Creation,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I love Thee,
Truly I serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him Christ the Lord
Jesus is the Masterpiece
Jesus is the Masterpiece
Perfect artistry and beauty became a man
When Jesus became the Masterpiece
When Jesus became the Masterpiece
When Jesus became the Masterpiece

THE END

..............................

Copyright Raymond J Lombardi. All rights reserved.

A Royalty is payable for use of this script. Sheet music and backing CDs are available from the Author. To pay Royalties and obtain copies of the music, visit the Author's Website at http://www.lorraymusicals.com for details.