Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Annual Letter

(To receive a copy of our 2009 Highlights Newsletter, email us at

December, 2009

Dear Friend of Masterworks,
If the $20 in your pocket could be the price for introducing someone to Jesus and making an eternal difference in his or her life, would you give it away?

You probably just answered, “of course.” I thought that was my answer too, until I recently had the opportunity. I was out Christmas shopping, getting a few last items for my kids. Christmas for us will be pretty lean this year. In the Yarger household, we have been hit with a decrease in income while taxes, medical bills and insurance premiums and deductibles have soared. We’re scraping to get by every month, like so many of you.

So the $20 in my pocket had not come there easily, and suddenly I was presented with an opportunity to donate $20 to help a family in need. Isn’t it funny for those of us who walk each day with the Lord to find that his plan isn’t always the one we had in mind? I knew the Lord wanted me to donate that $20, yet, I confess, my reaction was selfish. Without that $20, I wouldn’t be able to provide two more small packages for my kids and I wanted to hold on to it.

Fortunately, God understands my humanity. He was quick to remind me of a wonderful book I read this year by Bruce Wilkinson in which he describes how God presents us with opportunities to be involved in miracles every day, but how we often don’t see them, or pass on them. Convicted, and knowing my kids well enough to know that both would choose to help a needy family over going to the movies (the $20 would have provided gift certificates to the theater), I made the donation. I apologized to the Lord for thinking any part of what he had provided was mine to control and I was really glad that some day I wouldn’t have to try to explain to him why it was more important for my kids to go to a movie than to help others in need.

When you receive this letter, you too are being asked to part with a little of what God has given you to continue his work reaching out to people through the arts. The ministry of Masterworks continues to amaze me. In an economy which has seen other organizations shut their doors and which threatens others, especially those dependent on grants and government funding, God continues to open doors for us and has expanded our field of harvest. Check out the 2009 Highlights newsletter included with this letter to see some of what God has done.

Have you enjoyed music and drama during services or special programs at your church this year? Chances are good that those leading and involved in the ministry or hired for special performances have benefited from a ministry like Masterworks (perhaps Masterworks itself) through workshops to help them learn how to use their gifts and lead for the Lord.

Wish your church had an exciting music or drama program that you’d feel comfortable inviting friends to? Masterworks helps with that too, with day-long workshops by professionals in the field, with teaching tailored to meet each team exactly where it’s at.

Wishing your church could reach out to your community with professional programs with a message that leaves attendees wanting to know more and coming to your church to find it? Bring in one of our excellent performers for services or a special event.

In addition, Masterworks provides the nation’s only reviewing service for Broadway and NY theater with an added Christian perspective. Thousands of Christians read the reviews to decide which shows to see, which are appropriate for kids, and which might spark conversations with unchurched friends, whether the shows are in New York or running at your local theater.

Masterworks also supports two funds providing for actors in need and has adopted Compassionart as a partner for our events, whereby a portion of our proceeds will go directly helping impoverished children worldwide.

So you really can make a difference with your tax deductible donation. The only question is will you part with some of the money God has given you to make it happen? We’re dedicated to equipping and supporting Christians in the arts and to being the face, hands and feet of Jesus to those who don’t know him in the theater community. Please seize this opportunity to join God in his work.

We wish you a blessed and joyous Christmas. May you enjoy and share the gift of God’s son in 2010.

In His Service,

Lauren Yarger
Executive Director/Producer
And the Board of Directors at Masterwork Productions, Inc.

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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 ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

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

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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