!Hero Tour opens sold-out event without incident, despite threatened protests

( [email protected] ) Nov 05, 2003 09:08 AM EST

The !Hero - The Rock Opera Tour world premiered in Wabash, IN, smoothly although threats of protests arising from Michael Tait (Tait, dc Talk), an African American peforming as the role of "!Hero" (Jesus), kept the city and county officers at full alert. The tour also featured Rebecca St. James playing the role of "Maggie", Mark Stuart as "Petrov" (Audio Adrenaline), and T-Bone.

!Hero is a rock opera including a collection of songs that tell the life of Jesus in a modern setting. The success of !Hero has even amazed creator Eddie DeGarmo who began the project ten years agao.

"After ten years' planning, writing, and developing !Hero, watching it take life in Wabash was overwhelming," said DeGarmo. "People wept at the scene of the crucifixion, and they screamed praises when !Hero is seen alive. It was quite emotional, not only for the audience, but for me. The people were talking -- about Jesus. That was my dream."

Costumes were designed by DeGarmo's wife Susan and music was written with collaborative efforts from Bob Farrell. De Garmo also recruited author Stephen Lawhead to write a triology of !Hero novels.

The event was joined by a broad spectrum of attendees. Hearing about the event on WAY-FM Nashville, a couple drove 7.5 hours from Jacksonville TN to attend. Theater season ticket holders also enjoyed the show. On senior citizen remarked, "At first I thought it was pretty loud, but when I listened, I caught on to the story and it was great."

Old and young found the show impressive alike. A youth group even wanted to recommend the show to their peers. They said, "We are going to tell our friends and try to go to another show." An African American in her twenties said, "Seeing Michael Tait as Jesus was exciting. Not that Jesus is black or white, but it is the first time I've seen something like this, and it was refreshing."

According to theater management in Wabash, there hasn't been a show to sell out as quickly since Wierd Al. The standing ovations at the end of both shows affirmed the sell-out success. "People here don't stand. I was blown away!" the management team said.