Kristen Long wrote The Journey: The Story of Your Life in parallel with her own life experience. As she worked to get out of an abusive marriage, Long wrote most of the production as part of her healing process.
“I wrote it to heal from a very, very hard and traumatic time,” Long said. “There are some scenes that are verbatim from my actual life.”
The Journey: The Story of Your Life, will be performed at Arts at St. John’s in Miami Beach on Jan. 21 through 23 and Jan. 28 through 30 at 7 p.m.
Part of Arts at St. John’s theme for the season, “Places We Call Home,” the play follows five people in New Orleans who try to find their home while coping with domestic abuse, substance abuse and depression.
Phillip Bracken-Tripp, Arts at St. John’s artistic director, said The Journey fits with the group’s mission statement of trying to find ways to “impact social justice issues through the arts.”
The Journey was first performed in 2013 as an Outré concert production in Fort Lauderdale. Since then, the musical has been performed at the New Orleans Fringe Festival and a portion was presented at the TRU Voice Musical Theatre Workshop in Manhattan.
The musical is different from other productions at Arts at St. John’s because it’s an immersive experience, complete with jazz, rock, and reggae music. Because of strong language, adult situations and violence, the musical is intended for mature audiences.
To further show the real-world impact of The Journey, Long will hold a free breakfast talk from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Monday at The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Dr. She will share the stories of five people who lost their homes.
Arts at St. John’s hopes that each member of the audience can connect with the performers in a unique way.
“To see it touch people the way that it has and to actually inspire change in lives of other people, has been pretty incredible,” Long said. “I don’t take the show lightly because it has really moved some people.”
Audiences relate to each of the five characters in different ways, whether because of their personal experiences or the experiences of people they know.
“It has a message. The message is that we are not victims of fate, but we make choices, good or bad, that lead to things in our lives,” said Dr. Carol Hoffman-Guzman, executive director of the Arts at St. John’s. I like it when you can take a musical with really fun music and make a message like that happen.”
IF YOU GO
▪ What: The Journey: The Story of Your Life musical
▪ Where: The Arts at St. John’s, 4760 Pine Tree Dr.
▪ When: 7 p.m., Jan. 21 through 23 and Jan. 28 through 30
▪ Cost: $28 general admission; $20 seniors and students; $38 VIP
▪ For information: Visit artsatstjohns.org or contact 305-613-2325 or firstname.lastname@example.org