The first scene of Act 1 sets the stage for what is about to unfurl, using the words of the Hebrew prophets normally associated with John the Baptist.
Comfort – Isaiah
Shake It Up – Zachariah
Scene 2 relates the miraculous nativity of John, as it explores the whole question of the names by which we are called, and why they are important. It ends with Zachariah (John's Father) singing a new rendition of the famous Benedictus Dominus Deus, also known as The Song of Zachariah.
Have You Heard? – The Naysayer, The Believer, Townspeople
What’s In A Name? – Elizabeth, Townspeople
Blessed Be! (The Song of Zachariah) – Zachariah
Scene 3 relates how the introvert John begins to find his own voice, as he gathers disciples around him, and starts to baptize. His cousin Jesus appears in this scene, and we see how similar their messages were, even as Jesus takes it to another level. King Herod and his wife also appear, allowing John to call them to task on their immoral behavior, and thereby sealing his fate to an early death. Before the scene (and Act 1) ends, John is challenged by the religious authorities, arrested by the police, and taken to prison, as many of his followers turn away from him.
The Silence of Juan – Felipe, Andrew
My God, I’m Hearing Voices – John, Voices
Crying in The Wilderness – Townspeople, John, Jesus
So, What Should We Do? – Middle-class folk, John, Tax-collectors, Police, Herod, Herodias
The Love You Give – John, Jesus
The Record of John – Priests, John
The Arrest – John, Police
The Privileged Can’t Let It Win – Townspeople, Greek Chorus
Act 2 begins with Herod visiting John in his cell, taunting him with the possibility of them working together. John remains true to his convictions, as Herod goes to get ready for his big birthday party. In the meantime, two of John’s disciples, Felipe and Andrew, find their way into the dungeon to check on their friend. They tell him all that Jesus is doing, and John sends them to go ask Jesus himself if he indeed is the Messiah. While they are gone, John faces his own doubts and insecurities in the beautifully haunting song “How Can I Be Sure?” The two return and sing to him “What We Hear And See”, which lets him know that his ministry has not been in vain.
Recitative – Herod, John
To Winning or to Worth? – Herod
Recitative – Andrew, Felipe, John
How Can I Be Sure? – John, Zachariah
What We Hear And See – Felipe, Andrew