The Gift of the Magi

In July 1995 my friend and fellow church musician Kelly Johnson told me she wanted to do a Christmas musical as a church activity. Her ideas weren’t working out: how would I like to write a Christmas play? Composers are always interested in a serious performance opportunity, so I agreed. I had never written a musical before and we had no script, but I thought The Gift of the Magi was a perfect candidate. The biggest hurdle was that I would need to adapt the story to the stage and I had no experience as a playwright. After nearly two months of pondering and staring at blank screens I was ready to give up. In late August I reserved a whole morning to try one last time before throwing in the towel. I took my Mac Plus to the empty church. After a frustrating hour, ready to quit, I fell asleep. Ten minutes later I awoke with the opening of Scene 1 before my mind’s eye. An hour later I had written the dialogue, sketched some lyrics for the song and mapped out how the whole play would unfold. A few weeks later rehearsals began with two songs still unwritten, but I finished by early October and the December production was a success. Magi has since been produced at least six times, in Ottawa, Utah, Edmonton and Cardston, Alberta. The studio recording presented here was recorded in 1996, just after the premiere of Magi .

For inquiries about permission to perform Gift of the Magi and the use of newly orchestrated accompaniment tracks (from the 2018 Cardston performance), please contact the composer at

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