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|The Rock Opera|
|Basis||The Gospel Story|
!HERO is a 2003 Christian rock opera about Jesus. It is based on the question, "What if Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?". After the original tour in 2003 ended, it was released on DVD, CD, and was written into a trilogy of novels and series of comic books.
!HERO is a rock opera modernizing Jesus's last two years of life, as described in the Bible. The story takes place in New York City, in Brooklyn. The world government in this near-future dystopic Earth is centered under the International Confederation of Nations (ICON). Under the iron fist of I.C.O.N., nearly all religion in the world has been wiped out, except for small occult and mystic sects. Only one synagogue in Brooklyn exists. Currently, New York City is a police-occupied warzone between ethnic gangs and small, isolated revolutionary groups fighting I.C.O.N. Of all the ancient world religions, only Judaism survives and flourishes, at least, as much as it can.
In Bethlehem, PA, a child named Jesus, but referred to as HERO, is born and forced to flee with his family to the small Jewish section of Brooklyn. Jesus grows up and begins to preach and teach the principles of Christianity to the people of New York City, teaching people to love their enemies and care for each other. I.C.O.N. realizes HERO is a threat, and the Chief of police Devlin (a derivative of the Devil or Satan), with the help of chief Rabbi Kai (Caiaphas), conspire to end HERO's revolutionary teachings.
The Opera is narrated by "Agent Hunter", a former I.C.O.N. agent who met HERO and was soon thrown into prison for joining him against I.C.O.N. The opera also features Petrov (Peter), Maggie (Mary Magdalene), and Jude (Judas Iscariot) the latter who conspires with Kai and Devlin to betray HERO. The storyline progresses through several stories about Jesus' miracles and sermons, using references from the Bible's four gospels, continues through Jesus' execution, at the hands of I.C.O.N's angry mob, and eventually ending with his resurrection.
- Michael Tait as Jesus/HERO
- Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline as Petrov
- Rebecca St. James as Maggie
- Paul Wright as Special Agent Hunter
- Donnie Lewis as Mama Mary
- Billy Buchanan as Chief Rabbi Kai
- Michael Quinlan as Jude
- Shannon Bain as Blind Cripple
- T-Bone as Jairus
- Donnie Lewis as Jairus' Wife
- Shannon Bain as Police Chief Devlin
- Bob Farrell as Governor Pilate
- John Grey as Preacher Rabbi at the wedding
- Nathan Lee as Janitor Angel
- GRITS as the Wedding Party
- Pete and Donna Stewart as the bride and groom at the wedding
- Anon (Sep 1, 2003). "Trends: What If He Were Born In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?". 7ball. No. 41.
- Anon (2004). "Hero: The Rock Opera: Full Cast & Crew". IMDB. Archived from the original on Aug 30, 2017. Retrieved Aug 30, 2017.
- Aryrakis, Andy (Jan 2004). "Standing Room Only: Star Plaza Theatre, Merrillville, IN" (PDF). CCM Magazine. Vol. 26 no. 7. Nashville, TN: James R Cumbee. p. 60. Archived from the original (PDF) on Mar 4, 2016. Retrieved Feb 14, 2016.
Combining rap, rock, pop, dance and Broadway-styled tunes, “!Hero” featured a slew of street-smart biblical characters interacting with tastefulness, tactfulness and seeker-friendly sensitivity in modern-day New York City."..."Even more gripping than Tait’s representation of the crucifixion on a corner street sign was the resurrection scene, where he greeted the disciples (or hip, street friends in this context) with victorious, sin-conquering glory. It was an epic climax capable of inducing chills within believers and a moment that could possibly even soften the hardest of hearts.
- DiBiase, John (Nov 9, 2003). "!Hero - The Rock Opera Tour". jesusfreakhideout. Archived from the original on Aug 30, 2017. Retrieved Aug 30, 2017.
- Hero! Live On Stage DVD review at Jesus Freak Hideout