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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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What in the World Are You Watching These Days?

Did you ever sing this song when you were younger?

Oh be careful little eyes, what you see
Oh be careful little eyes, what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in tender love
So be careful little eyes, what you see.

I’m not exactly sure who wrote the song, but I do believe that it is wrapped in wise advice. Entertainment has many options for you to consider. Many of them are filled with language, nudity, and corrupt moral circumstances.

Why is this bad?

Because Satan is wandering seeking who he is going to devour. As the world slowly conditions us to  not being as offended when we see or hear certain things…then our hearts aren’t as pure.

Did you hear what I said? Once you see something you CANNOT UNSEE IT. Once you hear something you CANNOT UNHEAR IT. If it is in your mind- it can make its way to your heart. This isn’t new to any of us and yet….we watch and don’t turn it off…..we listen and ignore the words.

Eyes. They can get us into trouble.

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:25-27, KJV
 
Listen! Isn’t that exactly what Satan did in the  garden?
 

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Genesis 3:6, KJV

People! I am horrified  at what is on TV these days. I’m horrified at the things that people are now accepting for the sake of entertainment. Please. Please. Be aware of what is going on around you. Please be aware of what tricks Satan uses when he entices us through our eyes.

So why then did I begin to watch the show? I was fascinated when I heard how popular the show was. I first thought it was a Disney show so I wanted to see what Disney was doing, but no…it is just a show with a Disney star and, people, THOUSANDS of people are watching it.

Please take my word for it. DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW. It is evil and you can never unsee it. I write to warn you. If people you know are talking about this in an innocent way and going to “parties” etc.  There is nothing good about it. In fact, it might be too real.

Why do I write? All it takes is a simple look for Satan to plant the seed of temptation in our minds. Believe me that I think it is best not to support such shows and companies that have no regard for morality and are in fact encouraging corruption in our youth. Join me in speaking up against truth being twisted into a new narrative. I’m not sure how, but when the time comes we must be ready. Forwarned is forearmed.

Determine to equip yourself now as Paul said,

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV
 
 
 

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

Reba

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Everyone of Us Can Be Great

Everyone of us has a reason that we do or do not go see a show or concert or recital.

That’s fair. Time is precious. Why waste it with something that you have no interest in seeing?

Is it possible, though, that we miss rare opportunities to better ourselves or to learn something that will make us better people by removing a prejudice and seeing something that we thought might not interest us?

I think the answer is yes.

Covid has left us battlescarred all around. Not only were we taught how to stay indoors and veg in front of the TV, but we learned to judge and hate and condemn those who don’t agree with us. We saw cities destroyed. We saw people lash out with hate towards any political figure that they didn’t agree with. We saw condemnation and judgement. Did we see love for our fellow man?

Rarely.

So now that we are out and about more…what is your criteria going to be?

Recently, Jeremiah Dew told one story that really stuck out to me during his question and answer time after his show at Overshadowed.

He told of a young boy who was taken into captivity as a slave. He was taken from an area of Africa that had never seen water. He spoke a different language than the other captives and had never seen a white man. He couldn’t communicate and actually thought that these white figures must have been demons. He saw many African people who escaped and jumped overboard in fear of what was happening to them. Imagine what they must have felt when they reached the shores of America to be treated as animals in many cases.

I tell that story not to cause you all to think–“that’s not my problem“…”stop the political message.” I tell the story because I think we need to learn that we each come from a different perspective. We need to stop and think about which perspective might be different from our own and how God wants us to react to others around us because of it.

For more of my thoughts please watch the video below:

https://youtu.be/DFhlmyJHqNk

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! For more information about JDew contact him at jdew@onevoiceshow.com

Thank you, Rebeca Leland, for hosting this time and for all your editing!

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

Reba

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Was Francine Rivers WRONG to Make the Movie “Redeeming Love”?

Wrong? What do you mean wrong? ” You might be asking.

I’d like to ask if you think she actually sinned by making the movie….but I don’t want to be side tracked  by conversations about other people making their own choices.

The main point is this….even if you liked the movie, even if you could see that the movie is drawing people to God….is it RIGHT for a director to ask people to strip almost naked and act out sexual scenes for others to watch? 

Yes, you are responsible for the choices you make. You alone have to decide where the line is. I remember being told as a teenager that I needed to decide what my dating standards were before I went on a date because in a car was not the time to decide if I would or would not…..kiss, make-out, have sex.

The same goes for actors. I actually asked a potential Christian intern last year what their” line was.” They looked at me in complete bewilderment so I continued. “For example, what do you believe is wrong for you to do on stage…like would it be okay to be naked?” Their response? “I guess I’d do that. Depending on the context and purpose.”

Maybe that is the root of the problem.  What happened to us as Christians that some of us think it is not only okay to watch just about anything, but equally okay to actually be the one naked and “having sex.” ?

Is any of it sin?

I keep thinking of “Be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love.” and “never put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” or in Mark 9:42, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”

So, was it wrong for Francine Rivers to allow others to be so naked (granted, she might have had a bandaid on) that to the world she APPEARS naked?  In fact, she wanted us all to believe she is naked. Further more, was it wrong for the two characters to imitate having sex, complete with movements and well, more….?

Just in case you think that Francine Rivers didn’t have a say once she sold her script, this is from a recent announcement with Penguin Random House:

Over the years with other options, the character of Michael didn’t come across the way it must. When Cindy Bond of Mission Pictures approached us, I decided to write a sample script of what I felt needed to be seen. I read a few books on how to write a script, loaded final draft onto my computer, and took a whack at it, never expecting they would use it. They bought it! When D.J. Caruso pursued the job of directing the movie, we worked together on the script. He restructured it and we strengthened scenes. It was a collaborative effort to bring a powerful redemptive story to the screen. I was also involved in the auditions and selection of the actors – especially Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis, who played the leading roles. They are wonderful!”

In every other interview I’ve seen Rivers seems to be thrilled with the movie.

Last week I talked about the movie generally, you can read that post here: https://wp.me/p9JkzU-QT

Here is part two of our discussion:

Many thanks to Naomi Rogers and Rebecca Leland for their discussion and Rebecca for the editing and filming!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Should Christians have “a line.”? Was Francine Rivers wrong? 

In recent years did you move your personal “line” for what you allowed yourself to watch or perform?

Is it time to move “the line” back?

Please like, follow and share this, it would mean the world to me!

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

Reba

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“Redeeming Love” and the Controversy

In 1991, Francine Rivers published a book called Redeeming Love. Since then it has sold over three million copies. That’s amazing for a Christian author....maybe any author.

It had mixed results as a novel, Rivers has a way of writing than can be a little steamy to an innocent mind. The controversy even then was that the book was a “gateway to soft porn.”

For me, my daughter and many of my friends, Redeeming Love was a powerful book. For many of us, the thought that our Lord pursues us the way that Michael Hosea pursued Angel or the picture of Isreal in Hosea was so moving that it brought us to tears. I understand why Rivers is so protective of it. It is a masterpiece.

The popularity of the book made many of us desire a film and Rivers herself longed for a contract. The film was many years on the drafting block for various reasons. When Rivers began tweeting about the film the Christian community went crazy.

And then the film was released.

I heard many people talk about the nudity and (excuse the next graphic language) the sexual movements of couples, considering if those elements had a place in a “Christian film.” I began to wonder if it was “right” for me to watch it.

I decided (giving warning to my friends) that we should see it and then give our thoughts. We didn’t talk about it before we filmed-we wanted the conversation to be raw and real. After watching the video below, I must admit, I wish I had waited a few days. I think the peace maker in me wanted to be pleasant and entertaining, but as I ponder the film I think I would have changed my rating. I give it a thumbs up at the end, but that was too generous. This film needs to come with more warnings than it does. Yes, the subject matter is difficult. Yes, I think Christians should show a realistic picture that sin is ugly and life is not always handed to a Christian all wrapped up in a bow that gives us a happily ever after. Yet…as a director and a Christian, I think some of the elements in this film could have given us that realistic picture without “crossing the line.”

Is it possible that people will know about God’s love from this movie?
Yes.
God doesn’t need any of this to call people to him.

Is it possible this movie could cause people to sin by watching it?
I believe the answer to that is also yes.
Doesn’t the Bible warn us to not be a stumbling block to others? 

What is considered “nudity”? (The aurgument is that at one point Michael’s hand covers her beast so that you cannot see…well, you know.) So that makes it not nudity? I disagree. You see too much. It is nudity to me. In fact, I think one of the problems with the movie is that it tries to have a little steaminess with the sex scenes.

I wonder if we have become desensitized to “things of the world?” Arguing that “you don’t really see anything”, or that the people that are acting out the sexual scenes are portraying married couples doesn’t sit well for me.  I think we should require more from a film that labels itself “Christian” or one that is supposed to show us God’s holy, pure, and unconditional love.

Before you use this argument on me….I KNOW the BIble is filled with stories of sex, sin and murder, but it isn’t written in graphic detail. Song of Solomon is the exception, but it isn’t written to be steamy and doesn’t include full color video.

Please watch the video below and let us know if you’ve seen the movie or if perhaps the video will help you make a decision. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Join us next week as our discussion goes a different direction. I seriously cannot wait for you to see part two!

Rebecca Leland, Naomi Rogers, thank you for your frank discussion. Thank you Rebecca for filming and your efforts in editing this mammoth job!

I would love it if you would like, share and follow!

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

Reba

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“Spilling the Tea” or What Drama Directors Hate

During Covid Overshadowed started an Instagram live. Rebecca Leland was our hostess and each week she would invite special guests on her show to talk about something behind the scenes at Overshadowed. We called it, “Spill the Tea.” She would add to the fun by sharing a tea or coffee recipe and other coffee trivia. It was a wonderful way to keep us connected at a time we couldn’t pursue live theater. Bonus: Rebecca Leland is a natural and such a joy to be around.

Recently, she had the chance to be part of the directing team at a local theater. I was curious to see if she learned anything as an actress from that experience–as my mom always taught me, “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you judge them.Wouldn’t the world be different if we all stuck to that motto?

As we got together for the latest episode of From the Wings, I was fascinated to see what she learned and see if she could make me a better director from her experiences.

I think we both agreed that an actor walks into the audition process completely unaware of what is going on in a director’s head and heart. I wish there was a way to help make the process seem less personal to the potential cast member. For me, it isn’t personal–I am simply trying to put together the best cast for my vision. You may be the best singer, but if you are 20 years younger than the best option for the guy you might have to play opposite of–then the pairing simply may not work. It isn’t personal against you–it is just a fact that the age difference might make it uncomfortable for the audience to watch.
It is difficult for a director to paint their vision for everyone, but trust me when we say, we really don’t want to hurt anyone and we want you to come back and audition again. I find it very sad when I don’t cast someone in the lead part they wanted for a particular musical and then they never audition for us again.   They might be exactly right for the lead in the next show, but we will never know because they didn’t come back because they took it personally.

It is easy to “THINK” you know what is in the mind of the director, but unless you ask, you cannot.
Bad mouthing the decisions a director makes shows that you think you know better. Perhaps you do, but your vision is not the director’s  vision and by tearing down the choices that a director makes only shows that you do not trust them and it tears down the whole experience for the rest of the cast as well. 
The best productions are ones that the cast is unified towards making the production a once in a lifetime experience.
This episode allows you to see just a little of what a directing team might be thinking. Perhaps if we could, “walk a mile in each other’s shoes.” we might come together to make some pretty amazing theatrical experiences!

I hope you enjoy it!
I would really love it if you subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Rebecca Leland, thank you for joining me on the show and thank you for all of your work filming and editing it!

Please feel free to post and share and I’d love to hear what you think about our thoughts!

Until next time!

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What is the Future for Theater?

It seems like a decade ago when the costumers and I were working away on the costume inventory at Overshadowed Theatrical Productions. Debra Schott (our engineer, researching

Debra Schott, Margaret Sahli, and me!

costumer) looked at me and said, “I fear this COVID is going to wreck our economy and when it is all said and done hundreds of thousands of people will die.”

In my innocence, I laughed and said, “We have modern medicine–we are going to do what everyone tells us to do and it will be over in a couple of months.” She looked at me and said, “I don’t know. It could be a couple of years.” I laughed again. Literally, I thought she was a prophet of doom. She couldn’t possibly be right. We were at a high point coming off of our most successful theater season ever. After 16 years of hard work it was exciting. I couldn’t imagine that it would all be over.

Here we are, years later. In Chicago, they are mandating that you must be vaccinated if you are 5 years old or older to attend the theater or other inside activities. Of course, you still must wear a mask. You cannot take it off even to eat or drink.

The mandates aren’t the same in DuPage County. Yet, in my theater, I simply cannot make people happy. DuPage county requires masks if you are inside. So, we require masks inside. I constantly get letters asking me why I am not stressing it more? In my defense, it is on my website. I announce it on stage and I have ushers to remind people. Yet, I get letters from people asking me to please talk to the people who don’t have them on and “police” them.

Then, I have the letters from people that say that will not attend if we ask them to wear a mask.

I know, “you can’t please all the people all the time.”

So, what is a girl to do for the future of theater?

I know the restrictions of other countries. I know what happened in New York. I have friends that have died from Covid and I have others who have had a case of Covid that really wasn’t that bad and they recovered just fine.

I understand both sides.

But now what?

What is the future for theater? Will this be the new normal? If we sit in areas that are close together will we ever feel safe?

Honestly, maybe my rambling thoughts are more about my frustration that we simply are not able to respect each other any longer. Is there even a middle ground that we could meet? Part of the problem seems to me that we have redefined truth. The news, reports what it wants to report, with the slant towards what they want us to take away or feel from the report. To be honest, it reminds me of the Bible verse, “And every man did what was right in their own eyes.”  That should frighten us all to the very core of our souls.  None of us are capable of living in a land where sinful man without truth sets the standards.

Jesus said, “What is truth?”

Seems to me I remember a day in school when reporters were held to a higher standard. We were taught against propaganda, even citing examples of communism and how we didn’t want to fall into that.

Where did truth go? Where did love for my neighbor go? If those things came back would we be able to meet in a middle ground of respect?

Or do we need to be much more aggressive-defending our freedoms?

It is so much to think about.

Sometimes I just want to “do theater.” Make people laugh. Educate. Make the audience feel something that makes a difference in their lives.

I cannot imagine a world without theater. Theater has always made a difference in my life. Somehow, I’m going to keep navigating in a world that is constantly changing and remind myself of one thing: “Faithful is He who calleth you who will also do it.”

“God, lead my steps. Help me do what YOU want me to do. Keep the audiences safe at Overshadowed. Help us to continue to tell YOUR story the way you want us to do. One more thing, help us to realize that how we respond to each other is important too…both to the believer and unbeliever.”

Verses to ponder:

Isaiah 35:4  say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

If this resonates with you at all, please like, share and subscribe!

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