Wise Up!

“A somewhat serious, totally hilariously queer slant on the ancient Nativity story... Get wise and rise up to this righteously (im)moral musical!” – SF Bay Times

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Wise Up! is a contemporary, thoroughly “queered”, comic retelling of the familiar Christmas story. The play follows the misadventures of three drag performers named Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, as they pursue a dream of showgirl stardom in Shreveport, LA, but are constantly stymied by casino kingpins, shady lawyers, and the needs of one very special family.

Wise Up! premiered to sold out audiences at Metropolitan Community Church in San Francisco in 2011 and several of its songs have since become fixtures in the San Francisco community around Christmastime. A hilarious show with serious themes on religion, family, and personal fulfillment, the show makes an excellent Christmas program for an LGBT or progressive Christian audience.

To read a full review of Wise Up! click here.

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"Wise Up!" premiered to sold-out crowds for Christmas at MCC San Francisco, self-produced with Stephanie Smith. This amateur video was taken from the back row. Piano by Mark Etheredge. Directed by Zach McCallum.

Frank N Sense - Scott Turco
Gold - George N. Roses
Myrrh - Carolyn Eidson
Mary - Wendy Tobias
Joe - Johnny Gullotto
Boy - Alanna Pinell
Shep - Brian Tognotti
King Harold - Shane Kroll
Tonio - Tom McElroy
Rufus - Michael Cronin
Mr. Eaves - David Kadel
Angel - Stephanie Lynne Smith
Angel 2 - Jen Brown
Angel 3 - Andra Kimball
Thug - Richard Rosser

The video begins abruptly with the second line of "Who the Hell Are You", a number that introduces the cast and the setting: Stick Shift Inn, Shreveport La.

After the song, Boy runs in to speak to his mom, Mary. He says he's been bullied for the strangeness of his "family" of bar-bound drag queens, and that he's going to run away unless his mom explains who is dad is.

Flash back to eight years ago. The King of Gambling in Shreveport, King Harold, is opening a new casino.

9:32 Harold sings "Something for Nothing", explaining to his lawyer, Tonio, why showgirls are so important to his success. He then sends out flyers searching for new talent.

15:40 Someone hands middle-aged office drone Frank one of Harold's flyers as a joke. He sings "In My Day", remembering old dreams, then decides to go audition for King Harold.

Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph are homeless, seeking shelter in Shreveport. They beg Rufus, the owner of the old Stick Shift Inn, to let them stay in a tool shed out back.

26:00 Gold, one of the bar's drag performers, takes the storytelling and reveals how Frank and Gold came to meet in prison and subsequently escape.

34:45 Meanwhile, Myrtle, singing lesbian activist psychic, has made it to her audition for Harold, following a strange vision. Harold notes she's a lesbian and sing-splains about lesbians in "Lesbilogue", before rejecting Myrtle. Mary is looked after by former sheep-hauler, Shep.

40:05 - Leaving auditions, Myrtle meets Frank and Gold. They sing "As Long as You Clean Up Well" as they change Myrtle into Myrrh and Frank into Frank N. Sense.

44:45 - Having formed their group, they sing "Following Our Star" and rush in for an audition, which swiftly turns sour, as Myrrh punches Harold for getting fresh. A chase scene ensues, and then an argument amongst the Magi.

55:35 - Hiding away from King Harold at the Stick Shift Inn on the promise that they'll perform there, the Three Magi meet Mary and Shep, but not Joe, who has gone to find food. They agree to help the stranded woman, but not Gold, who instead departs from their company.

1:00:36 - Joe's begging for food has gotten him put in jail, where he befriends a cellmate and sings "There Are Angels", a song about his own ideals, fed by a past vision of an angel.

1:08:00 - Mr. Eaves of the La. Dept. of Child Protection makes a sudden appearance, yelling that the Boy had asked Mr. Eaves to remove him from the home, to go could find his real father. The act ends in a fight over the boy.


1:14:36 - "Who the Hell Am I" sees the Boy pondering his identity, not knowing his father.

1:23:00 - In flashbacks, Harold's men are still looking for the Magi, who've hidden at the Stick Shift Inn. Tonio tracks them down, but doesn't tell Harold, since Tonio has fallen for Frank. Longingly, they sing "If You Only Knew". Myrrh watches over Mary and reveals secrets from her past.

1:31:35 - Gold sought King Harold's company and begs to be his "Trophy Wife". He tricks Gold into revealing the location of the other two Magi at the Stick Shift Inn, then leaves in a murderous fury despite Tonio's pleas.

1:30:20 - Gold is feeling guilty, but not brave, until several of Harold's showgirls turn out to be angels. They sing "Fear Not" convincing Gold to take action.

1:42:22 - Frank fulfills the Magi promise to perform at the Stick Shift Inn, but in disguise, to stay hidden from Harold. She enlists Mary's help and they sing "Something's Missing".

1:45:20 - In the present, Boy demands answers that Mary doesn't have. Frank, Myrrh, Joe, and Mary, sing "I'm Your Dad", explaining that they've all been a father to the boy.

1:49:45 - In flashbacks, Mary's baby is born as the company sings "See the Little Baby". They are interrupted by a murderous King Harold, but he is bested by trickery and tax law.

1:58:08 - Myrrh reveals the contents of her vision, while Mary sings "First and Only", which foreshadows the boy's eventual death.

2:01:28 - In the present, the boy sends Mr. Eaves away, keeping his chosen family. The cast joins together to sing "Wise Up!"