Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 Christy Nominations Announced

Nominees for the 2012 Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction were announced this morning.


My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing)


The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (Harvest House Publishers)

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing Group)

The Touch by Randall Wallace (Tyndale House Publishers)


Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)

Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Words by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)


An Eye for Glory by Karl Bacon (Zondervan)

Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola (Barbour Publishing)

Words by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)


Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House Publishers)

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

To Die For by Sandra Byrd (Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster)


Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group)

Pattern of Wounds by Mark Bertrand (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

 The Queen by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


The Chair by Jim Rubart (B&H Publishing Group)

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group USA)

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


How Huge the Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn (Kregel Publications)

Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren (David C Cook)

The 13th annual Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction will be presented at a 7 pm dinner July 16 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. The reservation form for the 2012 Christy Awards will be available online at after April 26. Watch for an announcement regarding keynote speaker and emcee soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Casting Announced for Amazing Grace Musical in Connecticut

Goodspeed Musicals has announced casting for the new musical Amazing Grace running May 17- June 10 at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, Goodspeed’s home for developing new works.

From the theater:
Storms. Slavery. Romance. Redemption. Prepare to be swept away by this epic musical saga about John Newton, a rebellious slave trader, and the woman who never lost faith in him. While fighting the raging seas and his own despair, Newton’s life is suddenly transformed - igniting a quest to end the scourge of slavery. Based on a true story of the man who penned the world’s most recognizable song, it’s a powerful musical you will never forget.

Amazing Grace features music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and book by Arthur Giron and Christopher Smith.

Goodspeed Musicals, the first two-time Tony Award winning theatre in the country, is delighted to announce that the cast of Amazing Grace will be led by Chris Peluso who will play John Newton. Peluso appeared in Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Lestat, and Assassins.Whitney Bashor will play Mary Catlett. Laiona Michelle will play Nanna/Ayotunde. Mike Evarsite will play Thomas/Keita. Captain Newton will be played by Dennis Parlato of Broadway’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Sound of Music, Chess, and A Chorus Line as well as Mrs. McThing at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre.

Major Gray will be played by Chris Hoch of Broadway’s La Cage aux Folles; Shrek The Musical;Spamalot; Dracula, the Musical; and Beauty and the Beast. Hoch also appeared in Goodspeed’s Caraboo, Princess of Javasu at The Norma Terris.

Harriet D. Foy will play The Princess. Ms. Foy appeared in Broadway’s The American Plan, Mamma Mia! and Once on This Island as well as in Goodspeed’s Good Sports at The Norma Terris Theatre.

The ensemble includes Jonathan Burke, Merideth Kaye Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Andrew Crowe, Tyrone Davis Jr., Rachael Ferrera,Liam Forde, Logan Rose Nelms, Adbur Rahim Jackson, Olivia Bowman Jackson, Allen Kendall, Alex Krasser, Kate Marilley, Danny Rothman, Gavriel Savit, Victoria Thornsbury, Paul Michael Valley, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White and Noah Zachary.

Amazing Grace will be directed by Gabriel Barre. Choreography will be by Benoit-Swan Pouffer.
The set will be designed by Beowulf Boritt, costumes will be designed by Toni-Leslie James.

Amazing Grace will run May 17 through June 10, 2012. Curtain times are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm., Thursday at 7:30 p.m.*, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 and 6:30 pm (*Thurs. 8 pm only on May 17th).

Tickets: 860-873-8668;

Monday, April 2, 2012

Godspell Prepares Way for New Jesus: High School Musical's Corbin Bleu

Prepare ye! On Tuesday, April 17 the company of Broadway's first-ever revival of Stephen Schwartz's legendary rock musical GODSPELL welcomes a new leading man -- stage and screen star Corbin Bleu (Disney's "High School Musical," Broadway's In the Heights) -- to the starring role of Jesus.

Bleu follows original star Hunter Parrish, who is set to play his final performance as Jesus on Sunday, April 15  before returning to Los Angeles to begin filming the eighth season of the Showtime series "Weeds."

"I know Corbin Bleu has a special affinity for GODSPELL, and with his great talent, charisma, and radiant energy, I know he will be terrific in the show," said Stephen Schwartz. "I am very much looking forward to working with him and seeing him as our new Jesus." 

Bleu made his Broadway stage debut in 2010 as the lead character, bodega-owner Usnavi, in the critically acclaimed musical In the Heights.
He starred in the Emmy-award winning Disney Channel Original Movie "High School Musical" and its sequel, "High School Musical 2" alongside Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale. "High School Musical 2" premiered to 18 million viewers, making it the highest rated Disney Channel Original Movie in history and the overall highest rated program in cable history.

Following to the worldwide success of "High School Musical," Bleu reprised his role in "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." The film broke opening weekend records and grossed over $250 million worldwide.

In March 2009, he released his second studio album, Speed of Light (Hollywood Records), a collaboration with some of the top producers and writers in the industry including Eric Hudson (Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson), Claude Kelly (Akon, Michael Jackson) and Brian Kennedy (Rihanna). He co-wrote the songs "Moments that Matter" and "Champion" with Claude Kelly (both tracks produced by Eric Hudson).

His debut solo album Another Side was released in May 2007. The album featured the hit single "Push it to the Limit" from the film Jump In! His single "Run It Back Again," from the Disney Channel Original Movie "Minutemen," became one of the top 10 downloaded songs on iTunes. Bleu performed material from "Another Side during" his North America tours in 2007 and 2008. He was subsequently nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Best New Artist.

His other film credits include Catch That Kid opposite Kristen Stewart, Soldier opposite Kurt Russell, Galaxy Quest opposite Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, Mystery Men opposite Ben Stiller and Hank Azaria, Duane Clark's Family Tree and William Dear's Free Style, which Bleu also produced.
He is the national spokesperson for the Starlight Children's Foundation and is also involved with St. Jude's Children's Hospital and the Make-a-Wish. 

Godspell plays at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre (1633 Broadway at 50th Street). For discounted tickets, click here. For more information, visit

Freud's Last Session Begins Chicago Run

The international hit play FREUD’S LAST SESSION by Mark St. Germain began performances at the Mercury Theater in Chicago for a limited engagement through June 3. The Chicago debut of FREUD’S LAST SESSION stars the original New York cast: Mark H. Dold as C. S. Lewis and Martin Rayner as Sigmund Freud. Winner of the 2011 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play, FREUD’S LAST SESSION is currently in its second smash year at NYC’s New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) and stars George Morfogen and Jim Stanek.
Additional productions of FREUD'S LAST SESSIONare already set to open into 2013 in major markets across the nation and around the world, including London, Madrid, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Seattle.

Under the direction of Tyler Marchant, FREUD’S LAST SESSION centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites the young, rising academic star C. S. Lewis to his home in London. Lewis, expecting to be called on the carpet for satirizing Freud in a recent book, soon realizes Freud has a much more significant agenda. On the day England enters World War II, Freud and Lewis clash on the existence of God, love, sex, and the meaning of life – just two weeks before Freud chooses to take his own. Not just a powerful debate, this is a profound and deeply touching play about two men who boldly addressed the greatest questions of all time. Mark St. Germain’s celebrated new play was suggested by the bestselling book The Question of God by Harvard’s Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.

There have been an unusually high number of celebrity sightings at FREUD’S LAST SESSION, including such luminaries as Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Neil Simon, Barbara Walters, Richard Gere, Jerry Stiller, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, John Cleese, Patricia Heaton, Cornel West, Christiane Amanpour, Marcia Gay Harden, John Kander, Andy Rooney, Dick Cavett, Frank Oz, Dr. Ruth (5 times!), Peter Shaffer, The Amazing Kreskin, Celeste Holm, Victoria Jackson, TR Knight, Dan Lauria, Scott Adsit, Warner Wolf, Tina Louise, and Mari Davi.
Playwright Mark St. Germain has written the plays Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards), The Best of Enemies, Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap, and Forgiving Typhoid Mary. With Randy Courts, he has written the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller and Jack’s Holiday. TV credits include Writer and Creative Consultant for The Cosby Show. Mark co-wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed film Duma, and he directed and co-produced the documentary My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story featuring Richard Gere, Glenn Close and Edward Albee, among many others.

For more information about both the New York and Chicago productions of FREUD’S LAST SESSION, visit

Are Reason and Spirituality Compatible?

From Eric Metaxas at Socrates in the City:
Friends of Socrates!
I'm thrilled to say that on April 11th we have the privilege of hearing from the legendary Dr. Dallas Willard on the subject "Are Reason and Spirituality Compatible?"
Stephen Meyer
Dallas Willard is a Professor of Philosophy at USC and is the author of many acclaimed best-sellers, including The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (1998) and The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (1988).
We've wanted to get him for years and we are very happy to think he will finally be with us at Socrates in the City on April 11th. Will you? We hope so. Please REGISTER TODAY and please tell your friends about this great opportunity to hear this great man talk on an absolutely quintessential Socrates in the City subject!
For all the details, please visit

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

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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