Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Asking for God's Blessing


"If you're a Christian and believe God is in control, then why do you need to ask for His help?"

And so began a long reflective discussion with my son about free will, the inability to be perfect no matter how much we'd like to be or sometimes think we are, and in the end, standing before God like everyone else who would be lost without Jesus, but being able to say you tried your best to serve Him because you loved Him. It really comes down to the trying. God loves it when we serve Him because we want to, not because we're forced to. My children's hugs bring untold joy when they are spontaneous, an expression of the love in their hearts, instead of a response to a prompt from me: "Come give me a hug."

So it is with God, and one of my favorite events where performing artists take some time to honor Him with their talents and stop to ask His blessing on what they are doing is coming up: The Broadway Blessing.

If you're in the New York area, I hope you'll mark your calendar for this expression of love 7 pm Monday, Sept. 8 at St. John the Divine Cathedral, 1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 12th Street. Lynn Redgrave and Boyd Gaines will be among the performers participating. My mentor and friend Retta Blaney directs the event. The event, in its 11th year, is free and reservations are not necessary.

The evening will begin with a lively dance number featuring dozens of performers from the internationally recognized Project Dance. Gaines, the four-time Tony Award-winning stage, film and television actor, will perform and Redgrave will offer a theatre reflection. Also taking the stage will be The Essentials, a New York-based company that collaboratively creates innovative theatre. (The Essentials’ a cappella comedy Perfect Harmony is running at the Clurman Theatre.)

Adam Jacobs, last seen on Broadway as Marius in the revival of Les Miserables, will sing “Nothing There To Love” from the new musical Amazing Grace: The True Story, which is being produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland. Opera singer Jerry Curry will sing “I’ll Walk With God,” a song from The Student Prince which he sings on his CD “Generally Singing.”

The annual candle lighting will feature prayers for the new season and its performers, led by Rabbi Jill Hausman from the Actors’ Temple and the Cathedral’s Rev. Canon Tom Miller, canon for liturgy and the arts. The Broadway Blessing Choir will sing show tunes and lead the audience in a sing-along at the end of the service. In addition, the Rev. Mitties DeChamplain will represent St. Clement’s Episcopal Church.

Actor Edward Herrmann had this to say about it before making his second Broadway Blessing appearance: “It’s reassuring to know there are so many people out there you know that believe in God and want to take that part of their life and dedicate it to the theatre because theatre is a very spiritual endeavor."

For more information, call 212-794-6163.

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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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