Journey to Bethlehem - Christmas Nativity

First-Ever Live-Action Christmas Musical Coming to Australian Theatres in November

30 October 2023

1.6 MINS

Just in time for the festive season, the faith-based studio that brought you The Star, Soul Surfer and several of the Kendrick brothers’ productions (including War Room, Overcomer and Courageous) is releasing the first-ever live-action musical based on the Christmas nativity story.

Expected to hit Australian theatres in late November, Journey to Bethlehem is a unique reimagining of the story of Mary and Joseph, the birth of Christ, the Magi, and King Herod’s attempt to hunt down the young Jesus — incorporating drama, song, dance and humour along the way.


The project was directed and co-produced by four-time Grammy® Award nominee, two-time Golden Globe® winner and two-time People’s Choice® Award winner Adam Anders, who also wrote the film’s music, alongside his wife, Nikki Anders (Glee) and Peer Astrom (Rock of Ages).

The film was co-written by Adam Anders and Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical) and co-stars Fiona Palomo (Outer Banks, Control Z) and Milo Manheim (Disney’s Zombies series) as Mary and Joseph.

Grammy® Award-winning rapper Lecrae makes an appearance as the angel Gabriel, while Academy Award nominee Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots, Shrek, The Mask of Zorro, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) plays the role of King Herod.

Of particular interest to Australian viewers is the appearance of Joel Smallbone — one-half of the four-time Grammy® Award-winning (and three-time nominated) Australian band for KING & COUNTRY, alongside his brother Luke — as Antipater.

This is Joel’s fourth role in a major Christian film, following his appearances in The Book of Esther (2013), Like a Country Song (2014) and Priceless (2016).

Joel’s wife Moriah (Because of Gracia), also a successful Christian artist, features in the film as Mary’s older sister, Deborah. Mary’s younger sister, Rebekah, is played by Stephanie Gil (Fatima).

The response to the film online has been enthusiastic, with many attracted to the project because of the unique mix of artists and actors involved. Since its release in mid-September, the full trailer has accumulated over four and a half million views.

“I did not know I needed a nativity story musical until I saw this trailer,” joked one viewer after watching the teaser trailer, “I’m so excited for this!”

An Australian viewer wrote, “I am seriously SO EXCITED about this! The trailer gives me goosebumps! Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this incredible story to life with music!”

The film will be showing in Australian cinemas on 30 November.

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  1. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 30 October 2023 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    In 1836 South Australia ‘s “First Fleet ” contained Prussian Lutheran refugees fleeing religious persecution by their Ruler . They were joined over the years by many more. Every year before Christmas Day the Adelaide Hills town of Lobethal, which was settled by them, puts on for many days a wonderful Festival of Christmas Lights, including a live Nativity play with a real baby and farm animals so that people can remember the real meaning of Christmas. As a young girl in 1964 I auditioned for a comedy show at Adelaide Uni , but, was given instead the lead role in a Mystery Play in Middle English as part of The Adelaide Festival of Arts, as a widow with a baby slaughtered by Herod’s soldiers. (It reminds me of what has recently happened in Israel !). I remember all Department Stores with window representations of the Nativity. Since Multiculturalism these are all gone because they “offend ” people who do not share our Christian Faith .

    • Margaret Rowland 30 October 2023 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Yes, our society has become morally weak. The socialists have to much power. Cheers from Playford SA.

  2. Ian Moncrieff. 30 October 2023 at 10:28 pm - Reply


  3. Margaret Rowland 30 October 2023 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Yes, our society has become morally weak. The socialists have to much power. Cheers from Playford SA.

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