Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Being a Light in the Dark Theater

Well, it's Spring and in the New York theater world, that means it's awards time. There are a number of organizations that present awards to top shows and performers on and off Broadway culminating in the award of all awards, the Tony. As the theater community gets ready to honor the best of 2007, I'd like to remind Christians in the theater world to remember to honor the best of all eternity: our Lord. The theater community is a missions field for Christians who make their living amidst the greaspaint and the roar of the crowd.

So often at gatherings of theater folks, there seems to be an overwhelming disdain for God, Christians and anyone who might suggest that you can't do whatever you want when you want. And Christians ministering in that world need your prayers to find loving ways to share the need for a saving Lord.

At one of this season's award ceremonies in which a number of honored performers were asked to share a few words, I was surprised to hear how often God came up in the conversation-- even if all of the comments weren't positive (OK, the Lord's name was taken in vain twice, but that's not what I mean). One actor expressed joy at having a role which allows him to speak in favor of evolution and say negative things about those who believe in creation. One spoke proudly of being raised in an atheist home and another was proud of parents who had left the ministry. And one person, given a special award to honor his achievements, reminisced about his start in the theater in middle school and how at the end of the run of their production, all of the participants clung to each other not wanting to part from those with whom they'd shared such comraderie. "Maybe that is God," he said wistfully.

The thing that was very clear to me is that God is very much on the minds of those folks, whether they'd like to admit it or not and we Christians who have an opportunity to work in the performing arts with those who don't know Him and who are searching for God, have an obligation and sacred calling to introduce them to Him. A couple of people who spoke at that awards ceremony did mention being blessed in their lives and work. But not one said from whom the blessings came.

Don't be afraid to let people see Christ reflected in you and through you as you sing, act, dance, direct, play your instrument, design lights or sound, usher people to their seats or clean the carpet in a theater. If you are a Christian and you are involved in the performing arts, God is speaking to you. He has placed people in your path who need to know Him. Be the light to show them the way through the darkness that can consume the theater world to what they really need to be blessed.

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The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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