Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: Walking Miracle by Art Sanborn

By Terry Robins
On the title page of the review copy I received of “Walking Miracle: A Vision for Asia, a Prayer for Healing” by Art Sanborn (YWAM, 2007) is a handwritten message from the author who was told he would be a paraplegic and would never walk or use his hands again. The message is simply this: Philippians 4:13, Blessings, Art Sanborn.

Sanborn's entire life has been built on the foundation of this scripture, and he lives it daily, instills it in his family (wife Ellen and son David have written a number of Christian musicals, the latest of which, David, had a run in New York and was guest reviewed by Rich Swingle here). He has seen countless miracles in his life as a result.

After having spent his entire life as a missionary in different countries like Taiwan and India, Sanborn had indeed seen miracle after miracle in his travels and missions work around the world. He exhibited an unshakable faith seen in few people, and this faith carried him through desperate and sometimes frightening situations that seemed impossible to overcome.

The book contains so many examples of miracles that can’t be simple coincidences that sometimes, if you didn’t know better, it reads more like it must be a novel, not an actual account of one endlessly faithful, humble man's life. Once, for example, the family needed money in the amount of $3,389.23 for air fare to get back to Thailand, and there was seemingly no way to obtain it from an offering that usually averaged $800. After the service that evening that exact amount was collected.

The incidents go on and on in country after country: amazing stories of how he and his family prayed through situations that most people would have given up on. This is a book that gives inspiration while at the same time finding humor in the hardships he endures both before and after his accident. Stories of how he mixed up words while trying to learn all the different languages he needed for his mission work cause out-loud laughter. Throughout his life he never wavers in his faith, depending totally on God to see him through whatever happens and praising Him when He does.

The title comes from the accident, where Sanborn was slammed into the bottom of the ocean one day while surfing in Hawaii, and was told that he would never walk again after sustaining a broken neck and a severed spinal cord. Sanborn's reply to his being told to get used to that idea was, "...I've seen lots of miracles in my lifetime....If God wants me to walk again, I will walk again."

Sanborn is definitely a walking miracle, and though the title of the book might refer to the author himself specifically after his accident, a case could be made that his entire life was one walking miracle after another.

You can purchase this book here:

Three's Company Plus One

This Thursday The Episcopal Actors' Guild Hall will play host to Three's Company Plus One, a performance group featuring Mimi Anderson, Paul Johnson, Sally Sherwood and Deborah Stone at 7 pm.

The group will present old standards as well as original material at the hall, 1 East 29th St., NYC.

Since forming, Three's Company, featuring members of The Snarks and The Amateur Comedy Club, has performed for fans all across the tri-state area. There is a $10 suggested donation. A win and cheese reception follows.

Space is limited. RSVP to 212-685-2927, or matt@actorsguild.org.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can the Speaker Trump Your Drama?

We reprint this great piece from Sandy Boikian of Christian Theatre Scripts. Visit her site at http://christiantheatrescripts.com

A Good Rule of Thumb
To have a speaker close the show, or not to have a speaker close the show?

That is the question.

You've just presented a powerful piece. As the house lights come up, people are wiping their eyes and blowing their noses. "Oh, thank You, Lord," you utter, pretty choked up yourself.

Then the speaker goes forward to wrap up the show and talks. And talks. And talks. Zzzzzzzzzzz. You've lost the audience.

I admit I have gone back and forth over the years on whether or not to have a speaker close the show. I used to insist on it. What if there was someone in the audience who was ready to receive Christ, and we denied him/her that opportunity?

Yet, on more than one occasion, I have sat in audiences where the closing was counterproductive (as in the example above), even manipulative.

Years ago I attended a two-hour musical about King David. Then the closing speaker got up. I can't even tell you how long he spoke, because I quietly slipped out after 40 minutes (I kid you not). Today when I think about that show, do I recall how I identified with the main character? Do I recall God's redemptive love in David's life? Do I get warm fuzzies over the memory of the music, the humor, the message? No. All I feel is dread and the icky aftermath of manipulation.

In general, here is a good rule of thumb to go by:

If a speaker is wrapping your show, make sure he keeps it brief. Brief means two minutes (five at the most). A sermonette is a turnoff ~ especially for (but not limited to) nonbelievers. During the two minutes your speaker can invite people who would like prayer or want to hear more about Jesus to see him or a cast member afterward. (Of course there are exceptions to the two-minute rule. If you feel God's prompting to speak, by all means, speak! But it should not be the general plan.)

Let the play speak for itself.

Mark 4:33-35 tells us that although Jesus explained the parables to His disciples, He let His "audiences" walk away to ponder and chew on the story.

Be sure your message is presented ~ strong and solid ~ in the performance. And then let your audience walk ... chewing away.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nominations Sought for 'The Lights Are Bright on Broadway' Awards

Don't miss your chance to nominate individuals or organizations for the annual "Lights Are Bright on Broadway" awards.

Masterwork Productions, Inc. honors individuals and organizations who make a difference through their faith in the Broadway community with these awards. The deadline for nominations is May 31. Send us the name and a link for the nominee as well as your name and address and why you're nominating to masterworkproductions@yahoo.com. Winners will be announced in June.

Last year's recipients were Cheryl Cutlip, director of Project Dance, and Dan Gordon, playwright of Irena's Vow on Broadway.
(Nominees must be making a difference in the NY theater community only, please).

Be the Guest of the Episcopal Actors' Guild

The Episcopal Actors' Guild invites you to be its guest for an annual welcome party from 3 to 6 pm Sunday, May 16 at Guild Hall, 1 E. 29th St., NYC.
Meet EAG members, as well as the Guild's council and Executive Director Karen Lehman. There will be food, wine, dancing, music, prizes and more. Space is limited. RSVP to 212-685-2927, or matt@actorsguild.org.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Actress Lynn Redgrave Dies

Acting legend Lynn Redgrave, 67, who appeared Off Broadway this season in Nightingale, a one-woman show she penned, based loosely on the life of her grandmother, passed away last night at her Connecticut home. Her children, Ben, Pema, and Annabel, and close friends were at her side.

In a statement, her children said, “Our beloved mother Lynn Rachel passed away peacefully after a seven year journey with breast cancer. She lived, loved and worked harder than ever before. The endless memories she created as a mother, grandmother, writer, actor and friend will sustain us for the rest of our lives. Our entire family asks for privacy through this difficult time.”
In addition to her children, Lynn Redgrave is survived by six grandchildren, her sister Vanessa, and four nieces and nephews.

Redgrave was the moving speaker at this seasons' Broadway Blessing held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She spoke about how her faith had helped her through her illness. Retta Blaney, director of the event has posted some thoughts about Redgrave on her blog here.

Broadway theaters will dim their lights tomorrow. A private funeral with be held later this week.

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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