The Legacy Of Moses Throughout Entertainment History – THE PRINCE OF EGYPT: THE MUSICAL – Book Your TICKETS NOW
The story of Moses is one of the most widely known Biblical stories across the world. His story has not only been shared across various religious groups, but it has inspired artists across the entertainment industry for generations.
To celebrate The Prince of Egypt's epic return to the west-end stage, we take a look at the ways that Moses has inspired artists, musicians and theatre lovers throughout his legacy...
The Prince of Egypt (musical and film)
Based on the classic Dreamworks animation film, The Prince of Egypt musical brings Moses’ story to life in a way that has never been experienced before. The musical features illusions, breathtaking projections, flying performers and fire effects! With over 100 crew members backstage, the musical is able to come alive beyond audiences’ wildest dreams. With 9 ancient Middle Eastern instruments in the show’s orchestra, the music accompanies the incredible special effects on stage. The musical also features one of the most popular songs ever written for a musical production, When You Believe, sung by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey which won an Academy Award® for ‘Best Original Song’ in 1999. Both the film and musical bring the story of Moses to life by animating the characters and making his narrative visually and lyrically appealing for both children and adults alike.
Go Down Moses (song)
Famously performed by Louis Armstrong, Go Down Moses is a gospel song that famously covers the story of Moses who was called by God to free the people of Egypt from the Pharaoh. This depiction of Moses’ story is used in the song to relate the enslaved people of Egypt to the slavery of African Americans in North America. The repetition of “Let My People Go” in the gospel song refers to the calling to God for the freedom of African Americans enslaved across the North American continent and for all that are persecuted across the world. In the title of the song, “go down” is significant because in the Old Testament of the Bible, going to Egypt was seen as “going down” as it was further south down the river in the Nile Valley. For enslaved African Americans, the further down the Mississippi river, the worse the conditions were said to be for those held by slave owners. This song is important both religiously and in the fight against human injustice as Moses' story is used to relate to people enslaved in our current time.
Black Is King (visual album)
Black Is King is the 2020 musical visual album created by Beyoncé to go alongside her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. Throughout the film, there is a lot of water (rivers, oceans etc.) which represents fertility and life. Beyoncé is also thought to be depicting the Yoruba Goddess Oshun, who is the most powerful orisha out of the 17 sent to Earth to bring life. Oshun is known as the river orisha and is associated with purity, water and fertility. Oshun is a very important symbol across many countries in Africa. In part of the film, a basket can be seen floating down the river which is why many people believe that Black Is King is connected to the story of Moses. Throughout the movie, Beyoncé is also prepping a young boy for his journey ahead as King which, because of the appearance of the basket, could be imagined to be Moses himself. The visual album has been believed by many critics to be the story of Moses as it depicts different journeys and the African Diaspora.
The Ten Commandments (film)
The Ten Commandments directed by Cecil B. DeMille tells the story of Moses in a dramatic and visually appealing way that won The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1956. This film is one of the earliest depictions of the story in colour on the big screen and earned $122.7 million at the Box Office. This film simply tells the story as is written in the Bible, with Moses escaping death at the hands of the Pharaoh, being given the ten commandments by God on Mount Sinai and leading the Egyptian people through the Red Sea. It is a captivating visual of Moses’ life and is one of the most important depictions in movie history.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (film)
One of the more recent depictions of Moses’ life and journey to the Red Sea is the 2014 film Exodus: Gods and Kings which concentrates more on the bruality of the slavery endured by the Egyptian people than other similar films. It is also concerned with Moses' realisation of his prophecy to save the Hebrews and take them to safety. Starring Christian Bale and Ben Kingsley, this film is excellently acted and translates the imagined harrowing journey onto our screens admirably.
The Golden Calf (Damien Hirst art piece)
Perhaps the most interesting reference to Moses’ story in art is The Golden Calf by Damien Hirst. The calf refers to the Israelites’ worship of a Golden Calf in Moses’ absence. The Calf also wears a disc of gold that represents the sun which is used across many religions (especially Paganism) to show a godly figure and is also worn by the Goddess Hathor, an Egyptian goddess. The calf used for the art piece was only 18 months old and was stopped in its decomposition process by being submerged in a formaldehyde aquarium. Damien Hirst is one of the most controversial artists in the world, but his work The Golden Calf definitely made people stop and talk as it gave Moses’ legacy a new perspective.
The Prince of Egypt is now showing at London’s Dominion Theatre, booking until Saturday 8th January 2022. The Dominion Theatre Box Office opens daily on performance days at 12 noon and tickets are available now.