“Love Never Fails (Reprise)” from the musical Pray the Gay Away®. Music by Conrad Askland (ASCAP).
In the 2019 performance run, “Love Never Fails (Reprise)” was the closing song in my musical Pray the Gay Away®. The story is a very heart-felt project aimed at bringing an understanding of the painful world of gay conversion therapy to mainstream audience. The PTGA team and myself worked in partnership with PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to bring support and awareness to our local audiences. We also provided a lot of information about The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Prevention) to our audiences with information in the programs and materials that The Trevor Project supplied to us.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of concern locally when we announced publicly back in 2018 that we were developing a theater musical called Pray the Gay Away®. All of that is too much to address in this blog post, so suffice it to say that the show did everything it was supposed to do in healing hearts and bringing an understanding to divide and experiences between the conservative “confessional” church stance on homosexuality and the resulting painful experiences suffered as a result of that by the LGBTQ+ community. Surprisingly even to me, the show had record audiences of its venue; more than any musical theater show (or ANY show for that matter) in the last twenty years.
For those that want to more about Pray the Gay Away® the musical, please visit the PTGA website at: https://ptgashow.com/
During the writing process of Pray the Gay Away®, it was usually easy to find ways where the opposing groups were different from each other. The delicate part, the part I spent so many hours researching and thinking through, were the place where the groups were similar with each other.
I worked with many workshop groups while developing PTGA and one of the most common remarks I would hear from theater-goers is: “I want to learn about the (conservative, “confessional”) church’s stance on the bible in regards to homosexuality, but not so much that it gets boring.” So with that feedback, I knew I had to be very selective in how much scripture I could include in the show. After all, PTGA is not a documentary or a bible study, it is still a theater work.
One of the main scriptures that stayed in the script was the famous “Love Is Patient” lines of: 1 Corinthians 13. I used verse 4-7 and the beginning of verse seven. Here is New International Versions translation:
1 Corinthians 13
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
The video in this post is of the “Reprise” of Love Never Fails. The fuller text was sung earlier in the show, and this Reprise is slightly shorter with redacted lyrics. The lyrics of the Love Never Fails (Reprise) is:
LYRICS – LOVE NEVER FAILS (REPRISE)
Love is patient
Love is kind
It does envy
It does not boast
Love rejoices with the truth
It always protects and trusts
Love Never Fails
In putting the lyrics together for the full version of the song, it was important to me not to omit any words once the scripture text had begun. But for the flow of singing, I did allow myself to combine different translations in order to use the translations that flowed the best musically to my ear. (Again, the “Reprise” lyrics above are the shorter, redacted version of the original song which appears earlier in the show).
This is one of the most “straight-ahead” songs musically in PTGA. To me, Love Never Fails sounds like a piece that could be sung by a church or high school choir. That was very purposeful. After all the characters and audience had experienced in Pray the Gay Away® the musical, it was important to have a sense of normalcy and closure. I see it even as a sense of “decompression” or “release” that was necessary at this point in the show.
If any parts of this post seem vague, it might be because I don’t want to give away any spoilers about PTGA. And I do hope that when COVID is over and theaters open again that you will have the opportunity to see Pray the Gay Away® the musical live on stage. Many, many people have told me it is my best work and I will not argue with them on that.