Our first short story series is an semi-fictional exploration of the real events in my own life leading up to my personal spiritual re-awakening. This story was originally written as a stage script nearly ten years ago and has never seen an audience, save for those few I shared the original transcript with many years ago. At the encouragement of many close friends, I am sharing my story with you now.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen and done some amazing things. The side of my story that most people don’t know are my past struggles with lost love, lost friends, alcoholism, and an attempted suicide. Although I’m very grateful for the things and people God has seen fit to bless me with, the simple truth is I’ve had to endure many hardships in order to appreciate the life I now live. This story is a semi-autobiographical compilation of several of the more dramatic events in my life but it has been modified for dramatic effect and out of respect for certain people who have and always will mean a great deal to me.
This was originally intended to be a musical based on the themes and melodies found within the classic music arrangement, Let It Be, originally composed by John Lennon and performed by one of my favorite performance ensembles, The Beetles. This particular song has always provided me with a sense of hope “When I find myself in times of trouble,” and I felt it necessary to incorporate the simple ideas presented within the lyrics into my own story. During the development of the script I realized that, while I have a strong love for music and vocal performance, I am vastly under experienced in the area of composition. The more I pondered this particular obstacle, the more I realized this story is not a typical happy ending drama and if I continued to follow the idea of presenting a full blown musical, I would be doing two very dangerous things. First and foremost, I would be coming uncomfortably close to disrespectfully mimicking the great Johnathon Larson by producing a show that could be easily considered a cheap Rent knock-off. Second, it occurred to me that this particular story might be more dramatic and more powerful if the music were presented as an underlying emotional catalyst.
So, Let It Be – A Musical became Let It Be – A Saga of Love. A story of life over night.
Nearly ten years have passed since the completion of the original stage script and it has always been my dream to see this story presented to a willing audience. As with many things in life, I had one idea but God had another plan altogether. In the following years, I have rekindled my love affair with Jesus Christ, met and married the wife he always intended for me and witnessed the birth of my first daughter. Amidst all of these things, this story has always been in my heart, placed to the side but never forgotten, waiting for the right time and place to be shared.
The time is now and the place is here. This is my story. I am fully hopeful this audience may feel as privileged to live these events as I have. I present myself to you in love and with one simple request. To never forget and to always be remembered.
Johnny D. Mack
A brief primer on setting and characters:
In the original transcript, the story took place in an un-named city. The visual instructions included in the script were designed to lead audiences to believe that the story was taking place in New York City. In fact, the true events that this story are based on took place in Omaha, Nebraska and this will be the setting for the stories you read here. If you are unfamiliar with Omaha (not surprising really, unless you’re from the area) we are talking about a rather large metropolitan setting with a unique blend of ‘big city life’ and small town charm. This is one of the few places I know of where you can spot a corn field in the midst of city buildings.
Omaha is also an unsung breeding ground for culture and fine arts. If you know where to look, the performing arts community is alive and thriving in this city, but it can be a cut-throat and competitive world to live in. Perhaps not unique to the theatre scene in Omaha, this particular industry can lead to some very dangerous and destructive life-style choices. This is where our story begins; with bad choices gone worse.
It is important to note, that while each character represented in this story is based in part on specific, real life individuals, there is also a piece of me in every fictional person you are about to meet. No one person or event is based completely on the experiences of any one person, but are a blended version of real life events that happened, primarily in my own life, but also in the lives of those I was close to at the time.
Young and bright eyed, Jesse is a dreamer. Jesse is in his early twenties, grew up in a small town in the Midwest, and is trying very hard to get over a difficult past. When things are going well he, is bright and optimistic with a personality that can lift anybody’s spirit. But when things get difficult he is easily overwhelmed. Jesse is an aspiring actor and a gifted singer. He also believes in true love and will stop at nothing until he finds it.
Very attractive and very sarcastic in her mid twenties. Megan grew up in the city and is jaded with mainstream people. She is determined to make a connection with someone she considers to be worth her time. Wise beyond her years, Megan tends to see into the heart of things and is very knowledgeable when it comes to matters of the heart. Very protective of her friends, there is nothing Megan won’t do for those she cares about.
Attractive and ‘sexually easy’ in her mid-twenties. Jamie changes men like she changes her shoes and is growing increasingly frustrated with the selection of romantic possibilities in her life and tends to resort to meaningless sex rather than face the hard times in her life. Jamie is stronger and more emotionally capable than she knows and she possesses an unrealized potential for love that’s just waiting to come out.
In his thirties and bitter toward life. Collin writes music and has recently moved to the city from LA in order to escape a sketchy past including but not limited to drug abuse and alcoholism. He carries a ‘been around the block’ attitude and usually tries to approach problems by comparing them to his past.
Almost twenty, Morgan is of an ethnic background and very much in love with Jesse. Her family, however, does not approve of Jesse and wills top at nothing to keep them apart. Morgan is very emotional and quick to act on her feelings to the extreme.
Jesse’s sister. Tina is in her thirties, very mature, and very protective of her little brother. Watching him leave the only town he’s ever known and move to a large city where she can’t protect him is very difficult for Tina but she tries very hard to be strong and supportive.
Jesse’s mother. Very loving and very overbearing. Pamela raised her children as a single mother and, as a result, they are not very close. Sh e barely knows Jesse and has a very difficult time showing him how much she loves him.
A co-owner of a local bar in the city. Jan still struggles with the loss of her only son to alcoholism and suicide and tends to take on a motherly role to her favorite customers.
Bitter and an alcoholic, Ross is married to Jan and a co-owner of the bar. Ross struggles with the loss of his son but chooses to lose himself in his booze rather than let his feelings show. Ross is quick to anger but knows when to be supportive and kind in the right situations.
Fun and sexual, Sarah is always out to find a good time. She is attracted to Collin emotionally and physically and is able to connect with him on a very deep level.
Young and very physically attractive. Michael is severely under estimated by women who generally tend to judge him by his looks. Underneath his Prince Charming appearance, Michael is very intelligent and emotionally capable.