Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reach Out with Easy-to-Produce Dinner Theaters

If you are looking for a creative way to reach out to your community this summer or next Fall/Winter, Masterwork Productions dinner theaters are a great way to communicate while having a lot of fun.

Getaway to Chipaway follows three families escaping the problems of every day life on a camping vacation. There they find friendship and hope. This fun, family-friendly script comes with a message and original music by artist Bill Cooper, so you don't have to spend time tracking down songs or getting copyright permissions to perform them. It's ideal for drama teams and youth groups. To order a review copy of the script and a demo of the songs, click here or email us at masterworkproductions@yahoo.com. Production kits also are available.

  • "Fun, fast paced, great music. Loved it"

  • "I got goose bumps ... great laughs and the themes and developments were spot on."

  • "This generally isn't my kind of thing, but I really enjoyed this. Very fun, clever, well written and entertaining."

  • "Excellent messages beneficial for families."
The Seasons of Friendship follows the friendship of two women from the time they meet until they have to part and all the seasons they weather in between. Just perform the sketches as an offering or add music, other presentations and even a talk as guided by the script. This is ideal for women's events, women's retreats or a Sunday sermon series. Use the talent you have in your church and gear the message toward the audience you are trying to reach. This is hot off the presses! To order your reading copy, contact us at masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.
Productions kits also are available.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wanna Be Divas, Variety Show on Tap for Episcopal Actors' Guild

The Episcopal Actors' Guild presents Sylla Haskell in "Wannabe Divas" 7 pm Thursday, April 30 at Guild Hall, 1 E. 29th St., NY.

This multi-media explores the lives of Madame Florence Foster Jenkins, Anna Russell, and others.

Also on tap at Guild Hall is the inaugural "YO PRO Variety Show" 7 pm Thursday, May 7.

The EAG Young Professionals present an evening of song, magic, comedy, dance and more featuring sketch comedy with Marcus and Rodney, Lynn Newman, Choreographer with Artichoke Dance Company, magic by Slav Efremov, singer/actress Jennifer Fouche (theamoralists.com) w/ Michael Hopewell and the Accordion Stylings of Franca Vercelloni.

To make reservations for this event, call 212-685-2927 or contact matt@actorsguild.org.

Each event has a suggested donation of $10. Proceeds support the organization's relief funds. Wine and Refreshments will be served.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Steven Curtis Chapman Receives Top Dove Awards

Steven Curtis Chapman won Artst and Songwriter of the Year at the 40th annual Dove Awards last night in Nashville. Natalie Grant and Brandon Heath took female and male vocalist honors.

Casting Crowns received Group of the Year honors and Tenth Avenue North was named New Artist of the year.

The song "Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath and Jason Ingram won Song of the Year. Listen to it here.

A full lst of all the nominees is available at http://www.doveawards.com/doveawards/nominees.php.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jubliee Choir Offers Concert

"Cross & Resurrection" will be presented by the Jubilee Chorus and Orchestra 8pm Saturday, April 25 at Calvary Church at the corner of 21st Street and Park Avenue.

Soloist Kamel Boutros will be featured. The choir is directed by Virginia Hart Pike. Stephen P. Brown directs the orchestra.

Jubilee Missions New York is a Christian performing arts organization that provides a place for everyone to learn and perform. The organization believes that God has blessed each one of us with a talent, through which faith is inspiration.

Admission is free. An suggested donation of $20 will go to support the organization. For more information, call (212) 608-1330 or email: newyork@jubileemissions.org

Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. (Psalm 33:1)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project Dance Performs in Times Square

On my way to a show last weekend, I was surprised to hear some Christian worship music blaring from the area of Times Square. There, just off the square on 44th Street, members of Project Dance® were sharing their gifts with crowds in the heart of the city.

What a treat, and what an encouragement to see Christians unafraid to worship the Lord. So many Christians I run into in this industry are afraid to let folks know they follow Jesus. It isn't politically correct; they'll be seen as judgmental; they'll be shunned. All of those things are possible, but how exciting to see a group rise above that and say "this is who we are."

While many folks pray, write or sing to worship the Lord, this group uses their bodies, project founder and Rockette Cheryl Cutlip told the crowd. The organization seeks to positively impact culture through artistic integrity (and Cheryl said she had just referred someone to our site, http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/, for Broadway and theater reviews with an added Christian perspective, so thanks, Cheryl!)

The dancers offered hours of entertainment and danced to everything from worship music to salsa. And the crowd just kept getting bigger.

For more information on this ministry, visit http://www.projectdance.com/.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Biola Media Conference

The last day for early-bird pricing for the Biola Media Conference is tomorrow.
Brian Bird, best known as writer/co-exec producer of "Touched By An Angel" has been added as a workshop speaker. He’ll be joining Doug TenNapel (creator of Earthworm Jim) to teach workshop: How to Package & Sell to Hollywood.

Joseph C. Phillips (Actor: "The Cosby Show," "C.S.I.", "King of Queens," "Judging Amy") has been added to "The Talent Factor" panel!

This year's conference theme is "Closing the Deal" will feature workshops on the art of pitching, knowing what projects Hollywood is looking for, discovering niche projects, no budget filmmaking, the legal aspects of deal-making, how power is used in Hollywood, living out your faith, and more.

For more information on the Biola Media Conference which will be held Saturday, April 25 in Studio City, CA, visit http://www.biolamedia.com/index.shtml.

36-Hour Film Contest Winners Selected

The results are in and "Leave Me" has won the 36-Hour Christian Video Contest sponsored by Christian Filmmakers.

View the winner and other entries here http://www.christianfilmmakers.org/contest/2009-04/

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Redeemer Dance Project 'Re-Vives' This Weekend

Perichoresis,*the dance project of Redeemer Presbyterian Church's Greenhouse Project will present its first public performance of "Re-Vive" to live again this weekend with works inspired by Christ's life.

The performance, which has been in development for two years, will be held Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre at the West Side YMCA, 5 W. 63rd at Central Park West, NY. Tickets are available in advance or at the door. For more information, contact Luann Jennings, luann@redeemer.com or (212) 808-4460 x1343.

The works will address the theme of suffering. death, or something that feels like it and living again. Works to be performed:

  • Secure (choreography by Arron Masters)
  • dirt. air. (Elizabeth Dishman)
  • Cores (Anna Hillengas)
  • Shaken Path (Amanda Brewster)
  • Roux (Elizabeth Dishman)
  • And a short talk by a Redeemer pastor on "The Resurrection and the Body"

Dancers are: Emily SoRelle Adams Heidi Brewer Brittany Browning Alice Callahan Michelle Demus Leah Ives Molly Knochel Brittany Logan Rachel McCullough-Sanden Lori McNally Esther Moon Autumn Morgenstern Kimi Nikaidoh P. Christian Whitford

*Perichoresis: Greek, “to dance around.” Also a theological term describing the entwined relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hillsong's Art from the Heart

Five short films have been selected as finalists in Hillsong's first Easter Art from the Heart Arts and Film Festival. The theme was "The Cross."

You can view the films and vote for your favorite at http://myhillsong.com/artfestival/films.

View the gallery and vote for visual art at http://hillsong.com/blogs/artsfestival/

Friday, April 10, 2009

Second Coming for 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Ted Neely and James Delisco
Jesus Christ Superstar by legendary writing team Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, is returning to the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT for one night only this Wednesday, April 15, at 7:30 pm.

As relevant and timeless as ever, Superstar, the rock opera vision of “the greatest story ever told,” tells the story of the final seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, dramatizing his entry into Jerusalem, the unrest caused by his preaching and popularity, his betrayal by Judas, the trial before Pontius Pilate, and his death.

Ted Neeley, best known for his Golden Globe nominated role as “Jesus” in the Norman Jewison film of Jesus Christ Superstar, headlines this national tour. Tickets for the show start at $25 and can be purchased by phone at 203-755-4700, online at http://www.palacetheaterct.org/, or in person at the Palace Theater Box Office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

He is Risen! I Didn't Used to Believe That

"The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don't deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God's church right out of existence." (1 Corinthians 15:3 The Message)

Easter is coming, and besides the obvious significance it has for Christians, it has personal meaning for me, because it was an Easter weekend when I first realized I might be wrong about Christ.

I had been raised an atheist and was convinced that anyone who believed Jesus was the son of God, born of a virgin and had risen from the dead was seriously in need of some pyschiatric help. I thought Jesus must have been a gifted con artist (or the most convincing actor the theater world had ever produced)and that people who followed him did so because they were weakminded or needed a crutch to make it through life. The church only was out to control people and take their money, I believed.

I spent a lot of time debating with those who professed belief, and did my best, like the apostle Paul says above, to stamp the church, or at least belief in God, out of existence. That particular Easter weekend, I resolved to study the bible from cover to cover and use it to "crucify" a friend who so far had been able to resist my debate prowess and retain his faith in God and in Jesus.

In addition, I watched "Jesus of Nazareth" and "Godspell" which were on TV that weekend to add to my arsenal of weapons to destroy my friend's faith. A strange thing happened, however. Instead of finding evidence against the claims of Christ, my studies showed me flaws in my own theories. It was through investigating them and trying to prove the bible wrong, that I found the person of Jesus, a real and living Messiah who has been a part of my life ever since.

I was so horrified at having "sold out" to the enemy, I kept quiet about my findings (how could I tell my atheist parents?) I was embarrassed and hoped I would come to my senses. Truth is truth, however, and in the end God revealed himself to me without having to resort to any brainwashing, theatrical or money-extracting techniques.

I always have enjoyed following the ministry of Lee Strobel. We both are journalists (we both went to the same J-school), both had been atheists and both found Christ through an attempt to disprove the bible, so what he says usually has great mening for me. He's an excellent speaker and no one is better at apologetics. Watch the video and find more answers to your questions on his site at http://www.leestrobel.com/.

I pray that you might understand the significance of this Easter holiday and celebrate the hope and victory it means for your own personal life.

-- Lauren Yarger http://christianperformers.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 6, 2009

One-Woman Celebration of Theater

In "The Actress," a one-woman celebration of theatre, Episcopal Actors' Guild Member Evelyn Page embodies some of Broadway's most memorable characters. If that isn't enough, she'll be sharing stories and chatter from her many years as an actress, both in New York and beyond.

This event, which supports the guild's programs supporting actors in need, will be offered at 7 pm Thursday, April 16 in Guild Hall, 1 E. 29th St., New York

For an added treat, she'll share the stage with long-time Guild member Arthur Anderson for the reading of a sketch.
A $10 donation is suggested. Refreshments will be served. For reservations, call 212-685-2927 or visit http://www.actorsguild.org/Events.html.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A 'Cast' of Hollywood's Brightest Tells King David's Story

King David comes alive Off-Broadway with a “cast” of Hollywood’s biggest stars as David M. Sanborn impersonates the voices of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Connery, Jimmy Stewart, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Robert DeNiro, Antonio Banderas, Gene Kelly, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey and others to depict key characters in this epic Biblical tale.

The production, taken word for word from the scriptures, is set to music by Sanborn and his mother, Ellen Sanborn (who also directs), with orchestrations by David Onn-San . Previews begin April 9, with performances April 16 through June 27 at the Promise Theater, 316 East 91st Street, New York, Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, and Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm.

Sanborn has performed the musical for 12 years on five continents for more than 50,000 people since its premiere in 1997 at the University of Nations in Hawaii.

“We decided to write this script because King David is our favorite warrior-poet,” said Sanborn. “In many ways, his Psalms are his intimate diary. We loved the idea of writing a musical that adapted the very lyrics that David recorded when he faced his various trials."

The script was taken word for word from the Jewish Publication Society and the New King James translations. Once the script and score were near completion, and they realized they had more than 20 characters to bring to life on stage, the Sanborns were confronted with a dilemma: how to do this efficiently and effectively? The solution they arrived at was simple: why not cast the show with an all-star cast of Hollywood actors, past and present? Since Sanborn is a master of impersonation – he has more than 50 under his belt – it was decided he would do all the roles, or at least as many as possible.

They include Arnold Schwarzenegger as Goliath, Sean Connery (as the prophet Nathan), Jimmy Stewart (as Jesse, David’s father), and Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Billy Crystal, Kirk Douglas, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly, Tom Hanks, in other key roles. Over the years, like most long-running shows, there have been “cast” replacements, including the addition of Antonio Banderas, Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Walken as David’s advisors.

King David is produced for this run by Felicia M. Lopes, Eastern Gate Entertainment; Ellen Sanborn, Sanborn Productions; and Joseph Callari.

For tickets or more information, call 212/352-3101 or (toll-free) 866/811-4111 or click here.

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/.

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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