The team acknowledges the spiritual writings of the late Henri Nouwen on the subject of this parable, The Return of the Prodigal (and the more recently published, Home Tonight). It’s hard to imagine this particular approach to the story would have been so compelling had it not been for Nouwen’s vulnerable and insightful self-disclosures based on his meditations in response to the Rembrandt painting.
Another book, coincidentally titled The Prodigal God, by Manhattan-based Redeemer Presbyterian Pastor Tim Keller, was published in 2009. Working off of similar scholarly sources and leading to similar conclusions as Nouwen, Keller’s book provides a sound and accessible theological context for the premise which this show dramatizes – namely, that both sons are lost.
In addition to director Morris Ertman, the following individuals have offered helpful dramaturgical counsel along the way: Pacific Theatre artistic director and playwright, Ron Reed; theatre director and actor, Robert Walsh; playwright and author, Dave Schmelzer; Regent University Professor, and playwright, Gillette Elvgren. Nouwen’s primary scholarly source, Dr. Kenneth Bailey, who’s written several meaty books on the subject, provided a single phone consultation to help with some of the historical issues.