Meet the Creators
MICHAEL BRIDGES AND GEORGE BAUM (Lost And Found)
They played in all 50 states and dozens of countries. They won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Twice.
They released 17 albums, performed about 5,000 concerts, drove over a million miles, and flew about 4 million more.
Then in 2015, Michael Bridges and George Baum decided it was time to get real jobs and feed their families. They were saying their goodbyes on their website, writing things like this when Dr. Rich Melheim suggested they give one last gift to their fans and the church:
"Michael has taken a job with a music-app start up. George thinks this means he is going to get paid for listening to Spotify, but Michael insists it's an actual job, with bosses and a desk and stuff like that."
"George has taken a position at a local parish in the Episcopal Church. Michael thinks this means he works one hour a week, but George says his parish has three services a week, so it’s actually three times that much."
They were sitting in a tavern in Boulder, Colorado donating a free concert to launch Faith Inkubators “Killing Sunday School/Birthing Cross+Gen Worship” movement when Dr. Rich Melheim found out they were retiring from the road .
So Rich got to thinking out loud – as he often does – and, yeah, he told them it would be a sin for their talents to go to waste and their fanatic fan base to be deprived of their gifts and their daughters’ generation to grow up with only the legend of their marvelously maniacal ministry with Lions eating bodies but not swallowing souls, and slinkies, and Somebody’s Babies and Rising Up. Rich thought their retirement was a disaster for the church.
Simul justice et disaster…
The first time Rich heard the band Lost And Found and tried to explain them to his wife, he told Arlyce, “They’re kinda like Beavis and Butthead on Lutheran crack.” Over their 29 simultaneous years on the road, Rich spoke at a dozen events where Michael and George were the featured band, and came to love and marvel at their:
Insanely addictive music
Infectiously powerful lyrics
Endearing improv wit and stage presence, and
Simple, profound, solidly Lutheran theology
So Rich sat them down and talked them into turning his graphic novel “Luther” into a rock opera in time for the 500th Reformation Jubilee of Luther nailing it. And the result? Luther The Rock Opera.
SET DESIGNER, ARTIST
Jonathan Koelsch is an award-winning illustrator who discovered his love of art and storytelling while reading his first comic book at 7 years old.
Jonathan's clients include advertising agencies, national corporations, and major US institutions, but his passion is sequential storytelling, including graphic novels, storyboarding and animation. Presently he is animating and co-directing Even in Death, a short film. He storyboarded Hollywood films in production now in Oklahoma, including Gosnell, and The Washita Valley. Jonathan worked directly with Hollywood actor and director William H. Macy, storyboarding the movie Rudderless, starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Felicity Huffman, Lawrence Fishburne and Bill Macy himself. He has storyboarded many commercials for Target, Carl’s Jr., the OK State Regents, Cambria, and many others, and has designed many illustrated characters for entities like the OKC Thunder (NBA). Jonathan illustrated several published graphic novels, including !Hero® the Rock Opera graphic novel, and COTU®, the Auto-B-Good® comic book. Jonathan has illustrated children’s books, including Ditch Witch Jack for Ditch Witch Int., Sooner Born, Sooner Bred for the University of Oklahoma (OU), and recently finished Pistol Pete and Me for Oklahoma State University (OSU).
Jonathan served as lead colorist for the 2003 movie versions on the Luther Graphic Novel by Dr. Rich Melheim. He came back on board in 2016 to finish the full graphic novel and design the sets, 3-D props and animations for the Luther The Rock Opera play and travel to Germany with Dr. Rich, Michael and George for the 500th Anniversary debut and soft opening of the stage play. He is excited to continue tweaking and improving the art as the play moves toward its polished versions in time for the April 2021 debuts for the 500th anniversary of Luther’s historic “here I stand” trial.
Learn more about Jonathan at jkArts.com and @jkArts (Twitter)
DR. RICH MELHEIM
WRITER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Dr. Rich Melheim began the Luther project a decade ago when asked to create a guerrilla marketing campaign and Cross+Generational study guides for the movie Luther starring Joseph Fiennes and Peter Ustinov.
Along with writing the story for Luther The Rock Opera, Dr. Rich wrote and produced the additional 22 songs and orchestration for the full stage Theatrical Version, and sang the voices of Jan Hus, Cardinal Aleandro and numerous background vocals.
An ordained Lutheran minister, international educational systems pioneer, amateur neurologist, publisher and faith entrepreneur, Dr. Rich Melheim is the moving force behind Luther The Rock Opera.
Rich has taught 1000+ conferences on five continents and been featured as a parenting and educational consultant on CNN (Atlanta), 100 Huntley Street (Toronto), Good Morning Egypt (Cairo), ABC (Sydney) and 50 network news shows across the USA from WNBC (New York) to KTLA (Los Angeles).
With a BA in Journalism, a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies, Rich has striven to design, test, and implement faith incubation systems that pull parents into the core of the process for over three decades. He is the author of 24 books, producer of 24 record albums, writer of 500+ songs and 275 of skits, writer/producer of 7 musical comedy stage plays, and developer of thousands of family faith resources at: