Recently a friend of mine updated her blog and started it with something like this, “I’m writing in my blog…is that even a thing anymore?”
I will admit, I’m slow to follow the crowd. I waited until people didn’t really read blogs anymore to start mine. I waited until the craze of YouTube died down to start my own channel…you name it…I probably waited too long.
In thinking about my weaknesses—I think I wait too long to stand up and speak out as well. I don’t like being attacked…I don’t like arguing (I’m bad at it..I could never be a debater because I don’t make my arguments well.) I don’t have confidence in the way I read the facts, so I hang back until I think I understand them. So I keep quiet.
How many of you are like me? We just want to get along. We want to show the love of God, even now, as we see the attack on Christianity growing stronger and the number of Christians speaking against the evils of the world growing smaller.
The power of evil. The power of hate.
Here is the truth: If we don’t stand up for ourselves no one will.
You might not agree with every Christian with every stance they make, but I hope you will applaud their right to do so.
Watch our video below…it is sad to see how many hate comments have followed Chad as he took this stand. What do you think?
Until next time-this is just me-talking to you-from the wings,
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–
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.
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!
“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!
We filmed this almost a month ago, but when I watched this last night I was struck with how appropriate it was for my week.
Those of you who follow me on instagram (rebahervas.direct.plan.read) know that the audition process grieves me. Yes, it acutally makes me sick. It isn’t just a process for me. I feel the emotions of those of you who audition. I cheer for you, I want you to fit the part and I want to choose you. Sadly, there can be only one Belle or Gaston or whatever part you are going for. So, someone will be crushed. It’s like I hold your hopes and dreams in my hand and just like the evil queen did on Once Upon a Time (If you haven’t seen that show you simply must watch it!) I ripped my hand into your chest, pulled out your beating heart and crushed it until you stopped breathing. Too dramatic? In some cases…no.
I know that no amount of words can make it better. Thank you for auditioning. Thank you for wanting to be a part of theater.
So, can I help at all???
Watch this video that is part two from an interview with Darren Lawson, Dean of the School of FIne Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University. (For part One click here: https://wp.me/p9JkzU-Tc It was a joy to hear what he thinks as he goes through the audition process for their professional productions.
Thank you again, Rebecca Leland, Darren Lawson, David Lurtey and Kathryn Gamet. The time with you all was a blessing beyond words!
If you enjoy these moments From the Wings I hope you will follow me and share this site!
Many of you know that the catch phrase of Overshadowed Theatrical Productions is “Theater With a Difference.”
There are many things that make us “different.” At the top of that list is that we don’t produce and perform primarily for entertainment. We perform because our God is a creator and has given us the means to tell stories. Some of these stories entertain, but many of them inspire or point others to Christ.
At the heart of being “different“, we also want to treat others with love and kindness and show them what it would be like to be in Christ’s family.
This month I had the chance to sit down with Darren Lawson, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University. To say that I was treated with kindness and love would be an understatement. True to their educational philosophy, they loved on me and shared wisdom and education to both Rebecca Leland (From the Wings editor and videographer) and me.
Have you ever wondered what kind of student you would be if you could go back and do it again? Or how great it would be if things were like they are now–back then? Or maybe even wondered if you should have majored in something different?
Darren answered all the things I have always wanted to know.
There are many reasons you should watch the video below, but I’ll start with this one–
If you have ever wondered if there is a place for you in the arts and what that would look like on many different levels…start here.
I am so humbled to have had Darren, David Lurtey, and Kathryn Gamet take time out of their busy schedules and encourage us, insprire us, and teach us. Thank you all for pouring into, not only your students, but us old grads and friends as well. It was an amazing experience.
I hope you will all watch the video below. Remember to follow us on this platform as well as YouTube.
Dean Discussions | Interview with Darren Lawson Pt 1
Until next time–this is just me talking to you–from the wings.
Over 10 years ago someone told me we should produce “12 Angry Men.” They suggested that we have a cast of all women and another cast of all men. They thought it would be a clever marketing ploy. I declined for several reasons. One of them being that I didn’t think I had 12 men that could pull off the acting that this show requires. I put it on the back burner of my mind and waited. In the meantime, I saw the Theater in Chicago production with Brian Dennehy and George Wendt and John Boy Walton…oh, I mean, Richard Thomas as Juror # 8. I also spent the time visiting local community productions and waited until the time was right.
As I have complained about for now, over a year, Covid has really done a damage to our theater. In our area, several shut their doors for good as they couldn’t continue with the costs of rent etc. while they just waited to entertain again. We were able to produce an original Biblical drama that kept us going with 50 audience members a night until we thought everything was getting back to normal. Not quite trusting, I decided to mount a smaller musical, The Marvelous Wonderettes, for the summer. It was fantastic, but the audiences didn’t come. A summer show usually brings over 2500 to our doors. This summer we didn’t even get 1500. So, what better time than now to pull out that old marketing ploy? We decided that we would mount two shows with two casts. We would have four directors, two of each gender that would each be in the play and direct the opposite version of the play.
At auditions, we were thrilled. People came. We even had to turn people away. (Which always makes me sad.) We began the character studies and blocking and somehow in the middle of the process I stopped enjoying it. It was difficult. Why didn’t I notice that we were actually going to be producing two shows at the same time? One is hard enough…but two? I think I might be a little crazy….
What made matters worse is that I’m not sure that any of the other directors were enjoying it either. We were all feeling the stress of having to be in two places at one time plus carry on with our outside duties. The creative experiment of working together didn’t gel the way I thought it would. Instead of being inspired by each other we did the opposite. At times we were afraid to speak up, or at times we didn’t want to make an issue about something, or at times we felt competition, or that we weren’t as important as the other directors. Emotionally, it was difficult. One week ago. I would have told you that this theater experiment was a failure
12 Angry Women opened last week and if you asked me now I would tell you that I probably wouldn’t want to direct with four directors ever again, but that I did learn. That’s a good thing. I want to learn each and every time I decide to be involved with a production.
Here are some facts:
12 Angry Men is the play many of us, of a certain generation, had to read in high school. This courtroom drama by Reginald Rose has been around since 1954; first as a live Television play, then in its more well-known incarnation, the 1957 film, starring Henry Fonda, directed by the great Sidney Lumet. (Did you know the film was nominated for three Oscars?)
Question #1 that we faced: Isn’t it dated? What relevance does it have today? Come see the play and you will soon find our that Juror #10 leads the way with his immigrant and minority comments. Unfortunately, we all go in to any conversation with a great deal of bias and maybe realizing this would help all conversations end more peacefully. We can learn from each other. We adopted a tag line #Don’t confuse me with the facts. Sadly, many times we don’t care enough to step out of our own selves and into someone else’s.
The drama begins when a lone holdout, Juror #8, believes there is a reasonable doubt in the case of a youth “from the wrong side of the tracks” on trial for the murder of his abusive father. The stakes are high and the jury is mandated by the judge to think about it wisely and carefully, because the punishment for conviction is the death penalty. Since the decision must be unanimous the deliberation begins. The Jurors range greatly in personality, economic and educational background and ethnicity. A thrilling ride when you realize this is real life. Every jury is made up randomly and everyone does walk in with different personalities, educational backgrounds and ethnicities.
As Jessica Means (my co-director) and I watched the 12 Angry Men rehearsal last night we were thrilled. It was tense, riveting and thrilling–just as people had told us the women’s production was last week. Every juror looks as if they walked in off the street in 1959 Manhattan. The set is beautifully simple; it manages to be both artful and authentic. The cast is constantly moving to almost be “the camera” and allow the audience to see the jurors from each angle.
Why 12 Angry Men/Women?
It is a bucket list love of a classic theater piece that I always wanted to tackle.
To learn from a totally unique theater experiment.
To take an old classic and see that even after years some things never change.
People. It’s simply great theater.
So, the marketing ploy? Unfortunately, things haven’t changed since this summer. Our tickets sales are horribly low. Even with 24 people in the cast–I’m not sure we will even hit our numbers from the summer. I’d like to ask for a little help. Don’t let Covid kill this theater. If this is a play you weren’t planning on attending…could you decide to come? If you are seeing one of the versions could you decide to see both? Could you spread the word? Please tell your friends and neighbors that this is one show that should not be missed.
One last thing: 12 Angry Men is a timely, riveting drama that will get you thinking about your preconceptions and stereotypes. It is a reminder that we must question apparent facts before making tough decisions. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
Okay. I lied…one more last, last thing. My co-director’s are all brilliant and now that we’ve all gotten past the hard parts we all admit it was a crazy great experience. Thank you, Jessica Means, Brad Holloman, and Mike Larsen for sharing your time, creativity and inspiration with us all.
Now, will you all please go to Overshadowed.org and buy tickets? Let’s show everyone there is still a place for theater!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time, this is just me, talking to you from the wings.
“A modern musical about the historical events and relationships that helped shape Billy Graham’s faith as he became the most iconic evangelist in the world.”
(Sadly, I have searched for the author/composer’s name and cannot find it. They announced it at the performance Sunday evening, but I thought it would be on my program so I didn’t pay attention. I am deeply regretting that. I also wished I had stayed after the show and asked more questions. If this musical was a part of a residency program I probably would be a little softer in my review. My encouragement to this group would be to publicize those details…maybe there is a financial backer or someone who wants to produce your musical that is trying to get in contact with you.)
Years ago, I heard Karen Kingsbury speak. I have followed her blog ever since. In July, she wrote a blog about the passing of time and how the clock stops for no one. She went on to say she had been watching Crusade: The Billy Graham Musicaland was struck with the fact that a” blink ago Billy Graham was young and preaching and now he is gone. Just like we will be one day.”
I loved the points she was making, but more than that I was fascinated that there was a newmusical out about Billy Graham! After research, I realized that it was performing very close to where one of my daughters lives…and with great anticipation I bought tickets.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I found.
I was expecting a big venue. Why? Karen Kingsbury’s son-in-law (Kyle Kupecky) and daughter (Kelsey Kupecky) were the leads. Kyle is a singer that has actually toured with Mercy Me and together with Kelsey has authored the book “The Chase.” My preconceived ideas decided this musical was going to be in a big venue, with hundreds of people attending per night. Stars plus subject matter? It’s a win-win.
When we arrived we pulled into a small parking lot that held perhaps 100 cars….I think that is stretching it, but…maybe.
We walked into the lobby and discovered that to get to the performing space we had to walk up a curved staircase. When we entered the theater area I realized this small space, that might have seated 100, was packed and literally had no empty chairs. One of the workers gave up three seats that she had saved for her family saying, “It’s okay, we’ve all seen it.” Hmmmm. Did they oversell the show? Why were there no seats?
As the show begin we were seriously blown away by the projection and the graphic design. It was vivid, always in motion and brightly conveyed the scenes of the play as it progressed through Billy’s life. Many of the actors played multiple characters moving through the timeline of his life.
The music was loud. I don’t want to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but I really like to understand the words to the songs that the actors were so passionately singing, but I couldn’t always hear them. One of my costumers also attended with me and was bothered by small details, like no flash bulbs in the prop cameras. These things are easily fixed.
The music was current and passionate. It was played by the author and composer with a keyboard and guitar. I’m sure there were some pre-recorded tracks as well. I’m not totally a fan of all of the electronic music, but it was performed with such power that I enjoyed it. In fact, the honest response is that at times I felt more like I was in a church service than in a play. All of the actors sang as if they were singing worship songs. I’m not sure why I was bothered by that except that I went expecting to see a musical and this was a different kind.
As they were telling the story of Billy they mentioned that he had first attended Bob Jones College. Well, I wish they had just mentioned it. Instead, they had a scene that included Dr. Bob yelling and really chewing Billy out for failing and having so many demerits. Trust me, I am not always proud of everything Bob Jones has done, but it felt more like the author was making an attack on Bob Jones. When I asked about it at intermission, I was told that this attitude was from Billy’s perspective. Hmmmm. perhaps. I’m just not sure why it needed to be such a big point in the scene. Did that one incident become a turning point in some way for Billy?
Did I like the musical? Yes, I really did. I am not sure what message the author was trying to present, but this is what I received:
Billy Graham was a typical kid. He loved movies and playing. In fact, wanted to be just like Tarzan, but God had other plans. Billy ran from God. He sometimes questioned authority and even “bucked the system.” God had other plans. He had a magnetic personality and could charm even people like, George Beverly Shea. He was loyal to his friends. He questioned religion but then firmly believed in the infallibility of the Bible. He was passionate about all people, all races, and become their advocate proclaiming like Jesus, “Do not forbid one to come and hear.” Billy Graham is a man who has gone on to heaven.
The more important message? This is a story about a man who lived in a different time, his time has past. But you can still be a Billy. You, today, could make the same decisions that Billy did. What will you choose?
In the beginning I made the comment that I felt like the whole cast was singing as if they were singing worship songs. They were. This cast poured their hearts out and sang for Jesus. They cried over us as they sang one last song and, honestly, I might have even shed a tear or two as well.
Here is what I learned and they are important lessons for me as an owner of a Christian theater company.
The venue doesn’t matter. I spend so much time thinking about what people think or about how comfortable they are. Believe me, our seats and views of the stage at Overshadowed are so much better than what we experienced and yet, people came. Night after night they were sold out….just like a Crusade.
Christian themed plays can still attract sold out audiences. Sometimes our original Christian works are poorly attended. It is sometimes discouraging for me, but this gives me hope. I know this, but a good reminder is always important.
God moves in the audience’s hearts. He doesn’t need great acting, big theaters, grand sets. He just needs me to be willing to follow His leading.
We should pray over our audience more. To be honest, it felt a little manipulating to be told that the cast prayed over each seat: for our spouses, future spouse, children etc. But in the end, I was comforted by that. That’s pretty incredible and felt pretty personal.
Who was Billy Graham to you? What are God’s plans for you? Is He calling you to be a Billy? Do you think you would enjoy a musical like this one? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And as always, it would mean a great deal to me if you would like and follow my blog!
Until next time–this is just me–talking to you–from the wings.
I always get to this point in a show. Do you know the moment? It is when something is almost over–you can see the end in sight–a time you will never experience again–It is here and I regret that more people haven’t seen this musical. I want to share it. There is pain and joy in the closing of a show.
This year has theater audiences struggling to come back from what they lost during Covid. We decided to do a smaller show for several reasons. We weren’t sure that people would want to sit next to each other. Or maybe we’ve all gotten used to sitting and watching our entertainment inside instead of taking the trouble to go out and actually BE with people.
So…I decided on The Marvelous Wonderettes. It is a jukebox musical. It was an off Broadway success. In fact, so much of a success that there are multiple sequels that are written and performed about these four girls.
These four girls….Missy, Cindy Lou, Suzy and Betty Jean. Entered my world months ago as strangers as did the girls who played them. (Amy Keipert, Jessica Means, Brooke Kassal and Grace Ryan) They worked harder than I think any of them expected as they discovered that this musical was much more than a few great songs strung together. They worked hours daily on their harmonies and choreography and characters and the work paid off. What we have is an amazing show with four brilliantly talented girls who sing difficult harmonies effortlessly.
Here I am at closing weekend wishing that I could convince everyone I know to spend a couple of hours in the theater with this show. Here are a couple of remarks I have received:
“What a perfect show to mark the return to live theater. It was so good to laugh and smile and sing along with such fun songs.”
“I haven’t had that much fun in years.“
“This show is better than vitamins. I feel ten years younger.“
Honestly, those comments mean the world to me. The reason I am in theater is because I want to bring joy to the world. (well, one of the reasons.) This show did that.
We have one weekend left and if I could convince you to come out and join us for one of the remaining shows, would you? overshadowed.org
Even if you have seen the show before, the beauty of live theater is that it is never the same. Every night has a new audience and a new energy and most importantly a new moment to experience. I see the show night after night and love every second of it.
As we begin this weekend, we are tired, but it is a good tired. We are filled with the joy we have shared with audiences, the satisfaction of a job well-done and the feel- good sensation when you learn and grow from an experience.
We would love to share this joy…this story…this experience with you. We have lots of tickets left for tonight, friday night and two shows on Saturday…and it’s air -conditioned. (It’s a win-win.) Won’t you shake off the Covid hibernation and join us? Let’s get back to the joy of live theater.
It has been difficult to think about celebrating anything this year and esp. this past month with rumors of war and everything that is going on with Russia and Ukraine. Today, I hope you can find something to celebrate today.
Ah! St. Patrick’s Day. I must admit I usually forget about this fantastic day until it is too late to do anything about it. My parents never celebrated it or really even talked about it so my first introduction to this day was at school when I usually forgot to wear green so I spent the remainder of the day getting pinched. Do they still do that?
I love a good Irish accent. I would absolutely love to visit Ireland and some of my favorite books have been set in Ireland. In recent years, I have loved learning more about the history of Ireland and the facts that continue to draw me to all things Irish.
I love four leaf clovers, leprechauns , rainbows with the idea of a pot of gold, songs about luck and of course, Riverdance. I also love the idea of the luck of the Irish! But, what exactly does that mean?
Ireland is a small country that has had a big influence on America and on history. It has had a long history of unrest mostly due to years of famine, oppression, and wars. And yet, they are known to be overall happy cheerful people. Is that because of luck?
In his writings, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History, O’Donnell outlines the meaning of “the luck of the Irish.” He writes: “During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish-American birth.
“Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’ Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.”
In 1845 a famine hit Ireland and thousands left their country. Many traveled to America, most having to stay in the bottom cargo area of the ships. Many countries considered them to be diseased and lower class. In spite of this many of them survived and the Irish people claimed “the luck of the Irish.”
When they arrived in America many of them were indeed poor and unhealthy. Americans considered them threats both because they were afraid they might carry diseases, but also because they thought they might take their jobs from them. They practiced a different religion and in short, were not Americans.
Conflict between Protestants and Catholics had already led to violence in Ireland now Americans feared the same violence. Along with that were rumors that women were held against their will in convents and that the priests raped nuns. Not a pretty union. You might say that maybe Americans treated all newcomers with distaste, unfortunately the Irish were especially vilified.
It was said if they were to succeed in this country it must be as a result of dumb luck. Yet, they performed the most dangerous and menial jobs. They dug trenches, laid rail lines, cleaned houses, they were stable workers and blacksmiths and they did it all for lower pay.
There were signs that said, “No Irish Need Apply.” and “No Dogs, No Irish.”
Slowly they found their footing in our country. They became involved in politics. They voted. Slowly they began to control the political scene and began to climb the social ladder as more immigrants from China and Easter Europe crossed into America’s shores.
In many ways the Irish transformed America and strengthened it.
And now our country wears green on St. Patrick’s Day.
Why? Actually St. Patrick’s day started as more of a religious holiday. St. Patrick came to Ireland as a missionary. Early depictions of him show him wearing blue and soon became the official color of the Order of St. Patrick.
Blue?? What happened?
Ireland’s nickname is The Emerald Isle. The flag of Ireland has a green stripe that represents the Catholics of Ireland and…St. Patrick is thought to have used green shamrocks to teach about the Trinity. (God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).
I do love the folklore of the Irish and would love to meet a leprechaun! Who wouldn’t want to make friends with someone who spends his time protecting his pot of gold that lies at the end of a rainbow?
“Wherever you go, whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you!”
“May the luck of the Irish lead to the happiest heights and the highway you travel be lined with green lights.”
As this week comes to a close enjoy this number from the latest Irish musical! Once. Have you seen it? If not, I hope luck brings you to this wonderful musical soon! Oh! Sooooo good!
When this day was first celebrated it was a day of prayer and reflection.
May we all reflect on the blessings we have had this past year in spite of the disease that plagued our world.
I would love to hear your thoughts about St.Patrick’s Day! Do you celebrate it? How?
As always it would be so kind of you to follow my blog and share it!