Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Socrates in the City, Max McLean, Episcopal Actors News

Socrates in the City
Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University and senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will speak on the the topic "Dare a Scientist Believe in Design?" at the next meeting of Socrates in the City.

The event, hosted by Eric Metaxas, will be held 7 pm at The Union Club, 69th Street and Park Avenue. A Wine & Cheese Reception will be held from 6:30-7 pm and Professor Gingerich will sign copies of his books at 8:30 pm.

Registration is required. Cost is $35 before Nov. 6, then prices increase. The club requires appropriate attire for attendees, including jacket and tie for men.

In addition, There will be an hors d'oeuvres and wine VIP Reception with Gingerich from 6:15 pm until 6:55 pm. Attendance at this reception (and which includes the event immediately following) costs $75 before Nov.6 when the price increases. A Socrates in the City Patron's Dinner with Gingerich and other special guests immediately following the event (approx. 9 pm) is open to any persons making a tax-deductible donation of $500 or more. Seating is very limited
For more information and to register, click here.

Max McLean won the Jeff Equity Award for "Best Solo Performance" for his Chicago production of Mark's Gospel. For more information visit http://www.fpatheatre.com/mark

Episcopal Actors' Guild
"Drag in Your Costume" Halloween party 7 pm Thursday, Oct. 29 at Guild Hall, The Little Church, 1 E. 29th St. (5th/Madison), NYC.

Donations benefit EAG's Emergency Aid & Relief Program. Wine & Refreshments Will Be Served. RSVP: matt@actorsguild.org / 212-685-2927.

Get Discounted Broadway Tickets, Support Christian Arts

You can enjoy a Broadway show and support our ministry in Christian arts at the same time.

Through Givenik, Masterwork Productions receives a percentage of the sale every time you purchase a discounted ticket to a Broadway or Off-Broadway show.

Special discounts to the following shows are available. Click here:
Avenue Q
Burn the Floor
Finan's Rainbow
Fuerza Bruta
Gazillion Bubble Show
In the Heights
Love, Loss and What I Wore
Mama Mia
Mary Poppins
My First Time
Rock of Ages
Superior Donuts
The Lion King
The Marvelouos Wonderettes
Phantom of the Opera
Toxic Avenger

Also, friends of Masterworks get a special discounted rate on tickets for Altar Boys. Click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Worship from Psalm 42

A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I'm thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, "Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in God's presence?"
I'm on a diet of tears—
tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long
people knock at my door,
"Where is this God of yours?"

These are the things I go over and over,
emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
right out in front,
Leading them all,
eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
celebrating, all of us, God's feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He's my God.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God's prayer.

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
"Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?"
They're out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
"Where is this God of yours?"

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He's my God.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Was Lost in the Woods, but Now Am Found

By Lauren Yarger
I recently got to revisit the spot where I met the Lord on heavily wooded Deer Isle, Maine where I had been a camp counselor more than 30 years ago. My purpose in going to Les Chalet Francais, as the camp was called, was to teach girls age 5 to 12 French and tennis, but I left with a different and life-changing one: to serve God.

It's hard to explain how a hostile, anti-God, anti-religion, Jesus-was-just-a-hoax believing person can change into a follower of Christ. You sort of have to be there, and if you're in any of the categories I just described, you won't believe it's possible until you are there yourself. It did happen, just not over night. Meeting God at that camp was the result of many months of study (mostly with the intention of disproving his existence) and a major battle of the will (not wills, because God never forces us to believe). I was fighting with myself, unwilling to give up control. Until I finally admitted that maybe I didn't know absolutely everything thing there was to know in the world, and perhaps -- and this was the hardest part --that it was possible I could be wrong about a few things, I really wasn't ready, or able, to see God standing right in front of me.

It's amazing what isolation can do, though. Overwhelmed by the endless solitude and more trees than I ever had seen in my life (I was from the city) I was unable to hide behind the routines and problems of a daily life that kept me so busy they didn't allow me to stop and hear God's voice. Instead, I found myself quite alone one day there at the camp, and quite miserable. I took a good, hard, long look at my life and didn't like what I saw. I realized, reluctantly, that what God offered, through the death of Christ on the cross was what I needed. Suddenly I wasn't alone. God was with me and because I asked him to guide my life, he never has left me since.

Recently I had an opportunity to vacation a couple of hours away and I determined to revisit, for the first time, the place of my spiritual birth. Where better to conduct a mid-life crisis review of my life?

Finding the place would be no easy task, however, as the camp had been sold and divided into residential lots many years ago. The local Chamber of Commerce reported that a number of private homes had been built on the property and other sources said that none of the buildings except a storage shack still stood. So I set off with my map of the area and a prayer for direction. I hadn't driven while I was at the camp, so no landmarks or roads would seem familiar to me.

After arriving at what I thought was a main road that would wind around the camp site, I was greeted by a fork in some pretty deep woods. Taking my best guess, I headed left and soon realized I was driving into someone's private road which dead-ended in front of me. I started to turn around, but when I looked left, I recognized the view. It was the same as it had been all those years ago, except for a few newer trees between me and the bay which stretched out at the bottom of the hill.

I doubted myself for a minute, though, because to see this view, I would have to be just about where the main building for the camp was, and my car was next to an older building that couldn't have been erected after the camp was sold and, after all, a bunch of trees overlooking a bay can look the same from many different vantage points to a city girl. Just then a car pulled up and the property owner politely inquired what I was doing there. I apologized for my Google map, which had promised a through street, but which instead had landed me in her drive, and explained that I was looking for the French camp.

I had found it, she informed me. The main lodge had been converted into a storage barn with an apartment, which is why I didn't recognize it, and a little further down the road, another camp building, the dance studio, had been converted into a residence. As this gracious woman continued to give me some history about the place, we discovered we had been instructors at the camp the same summer. We both only had been there that one summer. Now what are the odds, do you think, that a woman who had been there only at the time when I had met God happened to buy this property and also just happened to be driving home at the exact moment I had arrived to revisit the site? Some 30 years ago, I believed in coincidence and chance. Today I saw an answered prayer and God's handiwork.

My friend invited me to walk around and take photos. As God and I stood in one place, I could see the exact spot where we had met, just a little to our right. Much had changed since that day when I'd gone into the woods alone, but some things never do. I still have to battle with wanting to be in control and it's still hard to admit that I might not be right about everything, but at least now, when I leave behind daily routines and problems to contemplate what I should do with my life, my heavenly father walks into the woods with me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

State Fairs Offer a Taste of the Simple Life We Seem to Have Forgotten (as well as of some strange foods....)

By Lauren Yarger
If life seems a bit too hectic and full of technology, high finance and cut-throat competition, take a trip back in time by attending your state fair. I recently enjoyed a day at The Big E, which serves all five New England States, and while I'm sure it can't compare with the champions in the genre like Iowa's State Fair, the setting for Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical State Fair and my long anticipated destination next August, the Big E has a charm of its own.

The fair is held at the exposition grounds near Springfield, MA, where a number of permanent structures, including colonial buildings for each of the New England states and an ice hockey rink, host various exhibits. I helped out in the arts and crafts area, where it was my duty to make sure no one touched or dumped deep-fried Oreos, corn dogs, smoothies, funnel cakes or any of the other staples of fair food on the exquisite quilts and other knitted and crocheted crafts on display.

As onlookers oohed and aahed over the crafts, I thought what a joy it is that we still have someplace where people can enjoy the simple things. The quilts don't play music, show videos, wear seductive adornments or worry about being politically correct. They are the beautiful culmination of many hours of God-given talent applied with love.

For me, the trip down memory lane seemed complete with a stop at the only cooking competition at this fair (next year in Iowa, I won't be able to take in all of the food contests because there are just so many, but I really want to win a blue ribbon for pickles). Where better than a state fair to sit back and enjoy folks of all ages, mother-daughter and father-son cooking teams as they create recipes that include sponsor Hidden Valley Ranch in the name and where a pizza takes the grand prize?

"Let's hear it for Mary and her lasagna," the MC said, leading the applause. And I clapped heartily.

A stroll down the avenue took me to a miniature circus museum, a sculpture of cows grazing made out of 600 pounds of butter (at Iowa, I'll see the life-sized butter cow sculpture), the actual car used in the James Bond flick "The Man with the Golden Gun" and the Shinson Band Organ (pictured above) featuring hundreds of handcrafted pipes including a 22-note Glockenspiel. And truth be told, at one point, I could have gone to my left and paid $1 to see the world's tiniest pony, or to my right and paid $1 to see the world's largest horse. Fun doesn't get simpler than this.

Banners in the state buildings delighted me as well. Connecticut's boasted it was home of the "original chocolate-covered bacon," a claim I hardly think anyone would challenge, and for that matter, are there impostor chocolate-covered bacons pretending to be the original? I've lived in Connecticut for nine years now and have never had this delicacy offered to me. In the Vermont building, a state where we lived for 11 years prior to moving here, a banner told me that "what happens in Vermont stays in Vermont," but that nothing ever happens. I laughed out loud at that one.

In the Rhode Island building I ran into Barbara Lesko, whom I had interviewed when she lived in a lighthouse at Nayatt Point in Barrington, RI where we lived for eight years before moving to Vermont (if we live long enough, we might end up residing in each of the New England states.) She'd written a book about her experience and we chatted and shared how we missed living in Barrington (it's really one of the most beautiful places).

All in all, a pleasant, sweet afternoon. It's good to stop in the middle of the rush and enjoy the small pleasures our states have to offer.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Torry Martin Featured Actor on Christian-Movie.com

Our own Torry Martin (seen here among the splendor of his custom designed super-hero office) is this month's featured actor on Christian-Movie.com. Read the article here.
To book him for a performance or workshop, visit http://masterworkproductions.homestead.com/torry.html

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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