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(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)–The original musical Aliya, written by Moravian College senior music composition major Emily Ralph, will take the stage at Moravian College from Thursday – Sunday, February 5-8, in the Haupert Union Building Arena Theater. The show will start at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. General admission is $13 and $9 for senior citizens and students.
Ralph’s musical tells the story of three women in 4 B.C. who set out to find the new king whose birth has sent a star into the sky. Their husbands are magi from the east who have already left for Israel, and these women do not want to be left behind. One pursues adventure, another runs for her life, and the third seeks the Jewish Messiah. When the three women meet on the road to Bethlehem, they encounter danger, a powerful God, and startling truths about each other and themselves.
Ralph has always loved music. When she was a little girl, she constantly made up skits and songs. “My life was a living musical,” jokes Ralph. As she grew up, her zest for singing developed into a passion for writing music and more specifically, writing a musical. “I have many beginning drafts hiding in my desk drawers from all my attempts over the years. However, I could never finish anything.” Aliya was no exception.
When Ralph was a young teenager, she attended a small church with few children. Although the children liked to perform, there were very few boys and even fewer who were willing to act. One year, the children wanted to do the Christmas story, but it was difficult to do with girls who were tired of dressing like men. “The idea dawned on me – the wives of the wise men,” said Ralph. “I ended up writing a skit about them, and it was horrible! It was never performed and was banished to one of my desk drawers with all the other failed attempts.”
For the next several years, Ralph wrestled with the idea of finishing what she started. “The story would not leave me alone. As years passed, the idea continued to ruminate in my mind. I really felt that it was something God wanted me to write,” said Ralph. However, it wasn’t until college that Ralph finally felt completely motivated to finish her first musical. “During my sophomore year, we had a guest speaker who mentioned in passing that he had written a musical for his senior project,” remembers Ralph. “I hardly heard another thing he said. I knew that I had finally found the venue for this story.”
After talking to the right people and receiving permission, Aliya became Ralph’s honors project. Ralph created the name Aliya for her musical by combining the Hebrew term aliyah, which means “to take a pilgrimage to Israel or Jerusalem,” and the Persian name Alea, which means “God’s being.” Said Ralph, “My new definition is ‘a pilgrimage to discover God’s being.’” Ralph began research for this project last spring and finally finished it all in late November.
The cast will feature Donna Boop, Candy Geary, Courtney Verrilli, Jennifer Gillard, Nathaniel Kirby, Adam Spaugh, Michael McCartney, Greg Lissome, Joel Mikulyak, Hannah Arnold, McKenzie Kupres, Lindsey Nelson, John Schaffer, and Jamie Alderiso. For more information or ticket reservations, please call 610-861-1489.