Synopsis


At a Purim festival in 21st century America, the master of ceremonies stands and begins to narrate the story of Esther. As she does, the cast for the celebration’s Purim play run on and prepare the stage (Let It Be Told). We are now back in ancient Persia at a celebration hosted by King Xerxes. After seven days of feasting and getting very drunk, the king wants his wife, Queen Vashti, to dance for his guests. She refuses (Lament for Vashti). At the advice of one of his nobles, the evil Hamaan, the king banishes Vashti from the land and begins a search for a new queen. All the beautiful young women of the land are required to appear before the king. One of the women is a young Jew, Hadassah, who was brought to Persia during the Babylonian conquest of Israel. She believes she must marry a “son of Abraham” and therefore is reluctant to go to the king. Her cousin and guardian, Mordecai, counsels her to plead with the Lord for protection. Together, they bring their requests to God (The Prayer).

Meanwhile, back in the palace, the king asks Hamaan, “What Do I Want in A Wife” and Hamaan offers some rather sexist advice. Hadassah assumes the Persian name, Esther, and is brought to the King’s harem. There she becomes friends with another of the girls, Taksha. Taksha is excited at the prospect of becoming a queen, but Esther is not yet convinced and explains her idea of marriage through a story (Jacob and Rachel). Mikal, a Hebrew woman in charge of the Harem, recognizes the story and offers to help Esther. Meanwhile, in another land, far away, the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana and Teresh, come to the exiled Queen Vashti who instructs them to kill the king (Vashti’s plot).

A year passes and it is finally Esther’s turn to appear before the king. He is so impressed by her that he decides to marry her immediately. As she goes to prepare for the wedding, the king muses on her perfection (First Star of the Evening). The Wedding follows, the plot of Bigthana and Teresh is exposed by Mordecai, and Esther becomes the new queen of the Medes and the Persians.

All is not happy ever after, however. Hamaan, incensed by Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him, advises the king the eliminate all the Jews in the land (Hamaan’s Plot). Xerxes agrees, and writes the decree in the irrevocable laws of the Medes and the Persians. During this time, the king seemingly forgets about Esther and begins to take an interest in Taksha, leading Esther to wonder (Where is the Dreamer?). Moredcai, hearing of Hamaan’s plot, calls for Esther and instructs her to go to the king and intercede for the Jews. She is reluctant, knowing that any who approach the king uninvited are put to death, but finally agrees. Mordecai, Mikal, and the Jews pray for Esther and their lives (We Bow).

Esther appears before the king and is allowed to live, but asks only that the king and Hamaan come to a banquet she will prepare. The king agrees. The Jews of the land wait nervously to see what will happen (Vultures over Susa). At the banquet, Esther invites the king and Hamaan to another, and they agree. As Esther is cleaning up the king asks Hamaan “What would you do for a man...” who has served exceptionally well. Hamaan suggests a parade in his honor. The king agrees, and tells Hamaan to lead one in honor of Mordecai (Mordecai’s parade).

At the final banquet Esther reveals her true purpose for appearing before the king. She reveals her heritage and accuses Hamaan of conspiring to murder her. The king is horrified and leaves the banquet. Hamaan pleads violently for his wife and the king returns in time to see him grabbing Esther. The king orders Hamaan’s execution and retires to think of a way to overrule his previous decree about the Jews. Mordecai suggests that the Jews power to defend themselves and the king agrees. The king then, shaken at the thought of losing Esther, realizes his love for her and asks her to be his wife as well as his queen. She agrees. The Jews defeat their enemies and agree to remember God’s provision and protection forever (Finale/Let it be Told).