Teenage Jesus

Two friends struggle to premiere their long awaited and Off-Off Broadway musical “Teenage Jesus.”

What’s the backstory of this idea?

I set out to make a buddy film about two roommates who are talented and very sensitive actors and best friends. In earlier drafts they performed improv comedy together, but I realized I wanted them to share a musical goal I could center the story around. So that’s when I thought of the idea for a musical centered around the story of Jesus in his teen years. And since there is no history of Jesus in this era – I created an origin story – where Jesus and Judas are childhood best friends. Of course later in life Judas betrays Jesus, but I thought it’d be funny if this betrayal also happened in their youth – sort of like a foreshadowing of what’s to come.

What made you put the Teenage Jesus musical so central in the story?

A musician friend introduced me to Evan O’Donovan who wrote the main theme song in the film. I sent him the script and we met, and I told him everything I envisioned for the song- Jesus working as a young apprentice carpenter and Judas as his super jealous best friend. Evan sent me a rough version of the song a week later and I instantly connected with it. It was catchy, fun, and the lyrics mirrored the story of Norm and Kevin’s relationship which was exactly what I was looking for.

The story feels like it should be a feature length. Any plans on that front?

We tried to do a lot in a small amount of time! We have three separate storylines – the friendship, the musical and the ring. That many plot points in a short is uncommon and for good reason! I just remember shooting and being like, well this is a lot. But Cody Reiss and Alan Trinca, the guys who play Norm and Kevin, are just so talented in their own unique ways and brought such good energy to the set, it was hard not to laugh and have a good time.

I do have a much larger story for a series where Teenage Jesus the musical becomes an actual Broadway hit. It focuses more on Norm and Kevin’s friendship and how they deal with the pitfalls of creating an Off-Off-Broadway show and the highs of fame as the musical turns heads and moves towards a Broadway debut. Norm and Kevin’s roles eventually reverse, and Norm becomes the more successful actor. We had such a good time with our cast and crew and I’d love to work with everyone again.