THE 12, which premieres at Denver Center Theatre Company March 27–April 26 under Richard Seyd’s direction, began as a concept by composer/lyricist Neil Berg, who initially had the idea of “conflating iconic rock figures with the apostles,” said Robert Schenkkan in a recent phone interview. That specific idea appealed to Schenkkan less than the notion of “both Christianity and rock and roll as revolutionary moments.”

…Traditionally the disciples were said to retreat to an “upper room,” in many accounts the site of what had been their last supper with Jesus, until reports that Jesus’s tomb was empty—and that some in the group had seen and spoken with their slain leader—began to spread.

“Essentially, they’re hiding out, but 72 hours later they leave the room having somehow overcome their terror and their grief, their sense of betrayal, ready to preach a whole new doctrine,” said Schenkkan.

So what happened in the interim? Given that Jesus is not listed as a character in the playbill, we can assume that Berg and Schenkkan’s answer is not the obvious reverential one. But, as Schenkkan explained, there are sound dramaturgical and even theological reasons to leave the purported grave-break offstage.

To read more about THE 12, please visit the American Theatre’s article: http://www.americantheatre.org/2015/03/13/what-would-jesuss-disciples-do-in-new-musical-the-12-they-rock-out/.

Neil Berg and Robert Schenkkan.