Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Inside Look at the Spiritual Lives of Actors


I have had the pleasure of getting to know talented journalist and theater critic Retta Blaney over the past couple of years. She's worked for a number of publications and now specializes in writing about theater and religion, and whenever she can, the connection between the two.
Retta is the founder and organizer of the annual "Broadway Blessing" in New York City where performers come together each September to offer a variety of musical and dramatic offerings in a service designed to ask God's blessing on the new Broadway theater season.
Over the years, as a fellow journalist, I've come to respect Retta's skill as an interviewer. I can tell from reading her interviews that she doesn't approach a subject with any preconceived notions or with any agenda to get the subject to say something particular or in a certain way. She lets the person speak in his or her own words and the result is that we, the reader, come away feeling like we know the subject very well.
She's found a niche focusing on what's important to performers in their spiritual lives. Her book "Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life Through the Eyes of Actors" (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2003) is a window into what some actors define as their spiritual life, how it is influenced by their upbringing, peer groups and other factors and how they draw upon it as a support for their career in the performing arts.
Actors including Kristen Chenoweth, Vanessa Williams, Phylicia Rashad, Liam Neeson, Edward Hermann and many others share their perspectives.
It's a good read and offers a lot of insight into the thinking of these actors. For more information on Retta and for information on how to purchase the book, go to her blog at http://uponthesacredstage.blogspot.com/ (you can find the link under "blog roll" to the right on this page.)

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Daily Inspiration

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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