Tom Quiner is a passionate composer and playwright who has written and produced ten shows, all with faith-based themes. His most recent shows include The Pope of the People and The Wedding at Cana, which was performed in six parishes last year.
Tom is bringing his latest musical, The Fire and the Mercy, The Pentecost Musical, to 8 Des Moines area churches. He was recently interviewed to learn more about his unique ministry and inspiring work:
Q. What got you interested in creating faith-based dinner theater?
A. Actually, THE FIRE AND THE MERCY is only my second production presented in a dinner theater format. I tried it last year for the first time with THE WEDDING AT CANA. It was a big hit. Attendees like the festivity of a dinner theater. And they absolutely love watching scripture come to life before their very eyes. We bring in professional sound and theater lighting to create a polished, professional experience.
Q. How many have you done in the past?
A. This is my tenth show over the last decade and a half. Most have been musicals. One was a talk show. One was more of a musical concert with narration and projected visuals. But all have built on the idea presented by Saint John Paul the Great who said, “Let theater become church.” I like to create theatrical pieces that evangelize at the same time that they entertain.
Q. What excites you about your latest musical, The Fire and the Mercy?
A. The Catholic Church has this healthy tension between the head and the heart, between faith and reason. I like the way Pope Francis appeals to the heart with his emphasis on mercy in this jubilee year. THE FIRE AND THE MERCY taps into some of the rich themes of mercy found in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.
Q. And what does the show have to do with Pentecost?
A. I’ve framed the show around Pentecost. It begins on Pentecost and ends with Pentecost. In between, we relive the drama of Christ’s mercy as it affected three people: Peter, Stephen, the first martyr, and Mary Magdalene. The Blessed Mother is a powerful presence in the young Church, and she plays a vital role in THE FIRE AND THE MERCY as well. The way our Jesus interacts with these iconic biblical figures is very moving.
Q. For parishioners who have never attended a faith-based dinner theater, what can they expect?
A. Fun. It’s that simple. What better way to spend two hours than enjoying great food with your friends followed by an inspirational, dramatic presentation of our beautiful Christian faith? Life doesn’t get any better! This format opens doors for faith-sharing as people talk about what they’ve seen. It is also a comfortable way to draw kids and family back into the church who have fallen away from their faith.
Q. Is the show overtly Catholic?
A. No, not really. I’m a convert myself. Many Protestants have attended my past shows, which were more Catholic-themed than this one, and really enjoyed them. In fact, THE FIRE AND THE MERCY will be performed at a Methodist church as well as at 7 Catholic churches.
Q. How can people get tickets?
A. In the church offices of host parishes, or they can order online with a credit card at www.fireandmercy.com.