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Something “Wicked” This Way Comes

Have you ever heard that “nothing is original anymore”?

I sometimes think that is true in theater as well. Or maybe we follow, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” instead.

Since “Wicked” came to stage there has been a serious trend to COPY the success of the skeleton of musicals, I.E. the rap of Hamilton lead to more rap in musicals…Jersey Boys led to Motown and much more.

I admit at one time I saw all the little cheerleaders flooding in to see “Bring it On” and thought about writing a musical about anything that millions of kids would want to see solely because it was about their favorite sport? or whatever” Think Karate Kid or a high school gymnastics team or Harry Potter–but I didn’t or I would have probably been filthy rich and famous by now.

Dispite the success of these copycat productions,  the “wicked” syndrome is giving me a cause to think.

Watch the video below for why.

Until next time-this is just me talking to you from the wings–

Reba

acting, backstage, bible, Blog, broadway, christian, christian blog, christian fiction, christian theater, Christmas, directing, entertainment, family, hope, Prayer, theater

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I do.

I believe in imagination, dreaming, and love at first sight. I love cheesy Hallmark movies– movies–eveneven if there is fake snow. But none of that really involves a miracle.

When I was younger, I believed that miracles were something that rarely happened. I thought that they occurred in Bible times–but rarely any more. The older that I get, I realize that sometimes miracles are all around us, but we don’t see them because we don’t realize how truly rotten our sin nature is.

What am I trying to say?

Left to our own selfish desires–we wouldn’t show God’s love; we wouldn’t look past our own goals to put someone else first; we wouldn’t be kind or take the time to give and care for others; we wouldn’t forgive.

But God.

He reached into this desperately wicked heart of mine and helped me to see others and sometimes helps me to forgive. I admit. I’m worse at it than I used to be…and that saddens me. I  really don’t want to become cynical or stop believing that there is hope for this world. Sometimes the news and facebook posts, etc., just steal that hope.

Today though?  I believe in miracles. Let’s continue to pray that God puts a hedge of protection around His children so that the dark doesn’t snuff out the light. Let us all remain faithful.

Take a moment to watch the lesson that “Miracle” teaches.

Thank you, Rebecca Leland for sharing the stage with me!

It would make my day if you would take the time to follow us and share!

Until next time–this is just me talking to you from the wings!

acting, audience, backstage, christian theater, communication, entertainment, theater, theater education, theater professions

Did that Really Just Happen?

I’m not sure why I have fallen away from my schedule to write once a week. Every week I think about what I would say to you, my readers–then before you know it–the week is over and I didn’t write.

I feel so busy. I’m not sure if it is because I am older or that the COVID hiatus took more out of me than I knew? Or maybe it is that Overshadowed lost many of their volunteers during the “break” and I really am doing more than I was before….or maybe my focus has shifted and it just takes more out of me.

Whatever the reason..I will try to be more faithful to writing.

There are so many parts that make up this world of theater.

Today we had a special guest, Jonathan Wessel, visit us to explain more about why he has such strict rules while he is on stage.

I hope you will enjoy watching!

Can I just say one more time how brilliant, Rebecca Leland is?? Thank you for all of your work on this!!

Do you know someone who might be interested in stage work? Please share this with them!

Thank you!

acting, artist, audience, backstage, bible, Blog, characterizations, christian, christian blog, christian theater, communication, directing, family, Fear, Grief, hope, non fiction, Prayer, stage, theater, theater education, theater professions, writing

In Moments of Loss

Why is it that I have stories dancing around in my head, but the process is so difficult to put down on paper?

They dance and swirl and, in my head, are so vivid and meaningful…and then I put my computer in front of me and all creativity stops. I read a little, dream a little, watch things on TV, and try again. Sometimes I repeat that step over and over until I can crank out one scene or chapter.

Such was the process of writing, Tuesday Morning #Neverforget.
To make matters worse I still haven’t fully recovered from my heartbreak of last summer. I’m better, but at times it haunts me and I’m just plain and simply….sad.

A sad person researching tragic events? Ugh! Sadness enveloped me…I would cry and have to put away the story and yet it kept calling me. I really didn’t know WHY it was an important story? Why this story would be any different from the facts everyone knew?

And then it clicked. Where was God? Is it possible to see God in the midst of disaster? How do you hold on to hope when everything around you seems hopeless?

That one thought became the focus of my story. Yes, the story is about the four flights that tragically crashed that day. Yes, the story is about the last words of many of the passengers on those flights. Yes, the story is about the people who stepped up and rescued thousands of people in the World Trade Centers….many losing their own lives in the process.

But then the hope started coming through. Lisa Beamer focusing on Bible verses that she had studied and memorized in the past. Lisa Jefferson committing to “speak out” for God and not be a silent witness. Countless tales of people who prayed, sang songs, quoted Scripture to comfort and heal. In short, people holding on to hope that God has a plan…a purpose and His ways are better than ours.

I do believe that.

I didn’t like reading about Joseph and his brother’s betrayal and yet God put Joseph into a place that he saved a whole nation. Maybe God gave Lisa Beamer that as well. Her book, Let’s Roll, gave us a picture of Todd and his faith and Lisa’s hope even in the face of great loss. He was just a regular man, but Lisa’s story made us see GOD. It is crazy to think that Todd went  from ordinary man to a hero that has caused many to know God  because Lisa wrote a book that told his story.

He’s in my story too…not just Tuesday Morning #Neverforget…but my story...my pain from last year that continues. I know God didn’t CAUSE the pain, but I know He holds my heart and that He understands and that one day He will wipe the tears from my eyes.

I would love it if you would follow my blog and better yet subscribe to us on YouTube. If we say something either place please share….I keep thinking God has me writing for a reason…maybe there is a message that someone needs to hear!

Watch below for thoughts from our cast!

Thank you, Rebecca Leland for your work on this!

Until next time this is just me, talking to you, from the wings.

Reba

acting, audience, backstage, christian theater, communication, directing, Fear, history, productions crew, technical production, theater, theater education

More Than the Words on the Page

Opening night is four days away!

Thank you, God! Wow! What a battle it has been this summer! Battle for time. Battle for actors to fill the roles. Battle for production staff and team…well, the list could go on.

But here we are. Four days away.

I’m thinking about time a lot lately. Maybe because Sunday was the 21st anniversary of September 11th and the horrific events of that day only took 103 minutes.

103 minutes.

In telling this story we need to pull from news reports, books that have been written, emotions that we all felt, and then tie it together in a way that the audience can be rocked to their core.

We do that by adding the costumes, hair and make-up, set and finally the tech. Tonight will be the first time we experience this show with the full tech and I am beyond excited.

This show wouldn’t be the same without it and honestly, it might be the fourth character in the show…it’s that necessary.

Watch below to hear our technical director give his thoughts on the vision of this show.

#neverforget

Thank you, Rebecca Leland and Mike Larsen, for all you do!

If you like content like this–please make sure you follow us! It really does matter!

Until next time,

This is just me, talking to you, from the wings–

acting, audience, christian, christian blog, christian theater, communication, family, Fear, Grief, history, hope, theater, writing

#NeverForget

It has been a whirlwind summer.

Every week I think, “I want to write about this.” And every week I cannot seem to scrape together the time to write even a few sentences. I’m not sure why….I mean, it doesn’t feel excessively more busy than summers BEFORE COVID and yet every time I sat down to work on the play I was writing for this fall-something big would happen that needed my attention.

We went into the summer thinking we were ahead of schedule for our summer production and it literally came down to the wire…and all along I kept repeating….”I just need ONE day by myself to finish editing my play.And it NEVER came. After awhile you just start to think forces are against you.

The good news? We are having a successful summer show! It is beautiful and people are loving it. In fact, we could probably add a show if we wanted because we are all sold out and we still have 8 shows remaining!

The bad news? It really took a toll on all of us. People were working non-stop to get this show ready. And I was doing a lousy job of thanking people that were keeping Overshadowed going in all the other areas. So I learned a lot of lessons this summer. I’m not sure I’ll be any better next time, but I’m trying really….really hard.

There are so many areas to consider in running a not-for-profit, but the key thing is that it takes people many, many people to do all the things and I am sooooo very thankful for all of them, but if I don’t make them know how important they are…I have failed.

So. Enough of the past…moving on to the future!

Next up….an original play I have written based on the heroes of 911. Please do me a favor and watch the video below…and then? Consider being a part of the team for this one! You can email me to tell me if you want to get a ticket, audition, or be part of stage crew, sets, props, tech or costumes!

Until next time–this is just me–talking to you–from the wings.

And before I forget…original music in our video is played and written by Casey Bender! Isn’t he amazing? And a very special thank you to our From the Wings editor! Thank you Rebecca for all you do!

audience, christian, christian blog, christian theater, communication, family, speech, theater, theater education

The Second Rule of the Effective Speaker

When I was a freshman taking beginning speech we all had to memorize “The Ten Rules of Effective Speaking.” When we talked about it last year I’m sure I said that I didn’t really appreciate those rules in speech class and certainly didn’t really understand them.

I do now.

I want to be effective in my speech. I want people to listen to me and I want my words to matter.

Is it possible?

I think it starts with the core essence of who you are.

If you want your words to matteryou need to be the kind of person that I respect enough to listen to.

You can watch one of our very first videos where we talk about that philosophy here: https://fromthewings.org/2020/12/02/how-you-can-be-an-effective-speaker-the-first-step/

We have so much that competes for our attention. We have social media, and a constant stream of Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, that gives us a 24-7 watching window. Each and everything you watch or listen to has a message it is sending. How do you choose what or who is worthy of your time and respect?

Would it make a difference in the world if we all started to ignore the message if the messanger wasn’t worthy? I hope it would.

Let me know what you think about the second rule of the effective speaker!

Are you more worthy to be taken seriously as a speaker if you follow this rule?

Until next time this is just me taking to you from the wings–

Reba

acting, artist, audience, audition, backstage, christian theater, directing, entertainment, family, theater, theater camp, theater education

The Importance of Theater Camp or What Mary Poppins Taught Me

Several years ago we mounted the very large full-scaled production of Mary Poppins on our regular stage. It was a large, full of special effects, show that pushed us to be better that we were. Flash forward several years and I decided that I wanted to do a theater camp that didn’t need much work costume or set wise since we all ready had both from the full production that we had produced several years ago. Ha!

Theater camp is a different experience all together.  We audition on Monday. Tuesday we start developing characters, learning choreography and music, memorizing lines and working all the set and prop movements. We also build lights and sound and set and costumes and well, the work is still a lot! Eight days later we mount a full scale show! Whew!

Today was the eighth day. I might have cried a little. I am so proud of all these students have learned in such a short time.

So have we learned anything?

I hope so. I hope we’ve learned more than the lines, music and etc. I hope we’ve learned the value of team work and responsibility. I hope we’ve learned how much work it takes to put on a good show and HOW MANY PEOPLE IT TAKES to create the magic that goes with a good show.

There are lessons in the show itself that we have talked about as well.

Mary Poppins is a redemptive story about a father who can’t be bothered with his children because the pressures of life have him working hard to create the “right” impression for the “right” people and to work hard to  because the pressures of the job demand it.  

Who can forget his lament?

A man has dreams of walking with giants

To carve his niche in the edifice of time.

Before the mortar of his zeal has time to congeal

The cup is dashed from his lips,

The flame is snuffed aborning,

He’s brought to rack and ruin in his prime.’

Ah! The pressures of life.

We can all fall slave to them.

Let’s take a moment to remember that we don’t have to compete to always “keep up with the Jones'”. Let’s not work so hard at living that we forget who we are living with. 

I wish I could spend one more day in the park with my kids that’s for sure!

Take a moment to watch this interview with our “Bert” and “Mary.” We open tomorrow!

Please make sure you like and share if you enjoyed this episode!

Until next time!

Blog, Blogging, christian, christian blog, family, Fear, Grief, hope, Prayer, theater

“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep”

Did you ever say this prayer when you were younger?

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should did before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

As a child I was full of worry and anxiety. My parents would take Bible verses and paste them on the doors and mirrors to remind me that God is in control and that worry is a sin.

Knowing that it is a sin doesn’t automatically help you stop worrying. The fact is you have to convince your mind and heart to trust that no matter what comes it’s okay, because you trust that God has a plan and that plan is perfect.

I remember praying that prayer over and over when I was young. Nighttime was always the time I was most fearful. I would lie in bed and pray that God would watch over me and protect me and that if I did die He would take me to heaven.

I was not doubting that He would take me–I was really asking that He protect me.

That was then.

Looking back, I realize that our world is far more dangerous than when I was a child. All around me are people who are afraid, people who suffer. There is no peace and there is certainly no unity.

Do you remember the questions you asked when you were younger? Am I pretty? Is there going to be another war? Do you think I’ll get married? What kind of job do you think I’ll have? Never once did I think that when I went to school that day that my danger might be that someone would come in and shoot me. I also never worried that someone would shoot my children.

And yet now, with yet another shooting tragedy we are reminded that our world is wicked. The drills children do in school are more than tornado drills–no–our innocents have to learn active shooter drills.

How do we have peace in this broken world??

I think of my mental image of Jesus. In my mind, He is sitting on the hillside and children are all around him–in his lap, by his side and His arms are wrapped around them. It is a perfect picture of Jesus loving us and especially the children.

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

So many parents sent their children to school on Tuesday not knowing that it would be the last kiss or hug that they would ever get from their precious child. I am at a loss for words. What can we possibly do??

Pray. Pray. Pray.

So much to be afraid of.

And yet, I hear God’s voice whispering in my head, “Do not be afraid. Do not be Dismayed. Be anxious for NOTHING.”

I don’t know the answer, but I have to trust that my God will somehow bring peace to all of us and those who have experienced such devastating loss.

Tonight before I close my eyes I think I will pray…

“Now I lay me down to sleep.

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake.

I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Until next time this is just me talking to you from the wings–

Reba

artist, artistic vision, audience, backstage, bible, Blog, Blogging, broadway, christian, christian blog, christian theater, entertainment, family, speech, theater

Why Do You Watch What You Do? Part Two.

Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.”

“No, You’re forgetting,” said the Spirit. “That’s not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.”

“Oh, that was ages ago,” said the Ghost. “One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.”

“One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower-become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations.
–C.S.Lewis. The Great Divorce (pp. 78-70)

And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? We have to fight to still be interested in God. We rationalize and reason and the next thing you know we don’t even see the snare.

It is a very interesting world we live in . More opportunities and technology than you could ever imagine. Entertainment has been redefined and envisioned and is BREATHTAKING. What is your responsibility? Do we have one?

I say, yes.

Just like God has given us responsibility and wisdom to take care of our earthly world and nature to perserve it while we are here–I think-He wants us to redeem entertainment for Him as well.

How do we do that? Where is the line on what is Okay to see and portray if it is done for Him?

Join the discussion here:

Thank you Rebecca Leland and Katie VanderKooi for being such wonderful guests!

Until next time!