Trials and Tribulations For HIM
Look at all my trials and tribulations
Sinking in a gentle pool of wine
Don’t disturb me now I can see the answers
Till this evening is this morning life is fine (Tim Rice, 1969)
If there ever was a stage production that was full of trials and tribulations, this past weekend’s performances of Jesus Christ Superstar surely filled that bill. My involvement in this particular show began almost 5 years ago (I’ll be so embarrassed if I am mistaken in the time) as I was sitting with my dear friends in the hospital welcoming their 4th addition and first son. Another visitor approached us about her dream of bringing the show to one of our community theater stages. I was immediately intrigued and I knew precisely which role I wanted to audition for as well as my pal, Chris (who happens to be the dedicated disciple who envisioned the entire growing Disciple Day group). This past fall, one of the two theater groups I am on the board for was approached about producing the musical for their summer show. Unfortunately, the request was denied which kicked off the long road to bring the passion of our Lord to life.
On March 1st, I informed Chris that our director, Lisa H, had nailed down a venue and had secured the rights to produce the show ON HER OWN. With his outrageous schedule, my friend has not had the time to be in a show for 6 years and JCS was just the show to bring him out of his hiatus! Not only that but his remarkable wife Lisa A, and his oldest daughters were going to be on board as well.
The first night of auditions saw Chris, his daughters Taylor and Samantha; Shelby (my niece) and myself at auditions. And that was it. The second day of try outs saw a few more but no where near the numbers needed to stage a production of the show. SO… Lisa sent out a plea via newspaper, radio, flyers, churches, anyway she could to further spread the word. Another round of auditions came with still few numbers including some friends who are involved with yet another theater group I am involved in. Finally, it was decided to begin the rehearsal process and to continue to attempt to bring in cast members as we could.
As the rehearsal process progressed, we all noticed one important element that was still missing: the key role of Jesus, himself. Either Chris or I could handle the role vocally; however, realistically, neither of us have “the look” typically associated with most people’s image. Unless I went on a quick diet and put on a wig. One of the guitarists in the band actually had the look and he was approached to at least attempt to sing the role. He agreed and our search seemed complete untillllll….
For reasons better left unsaid, we lost our musical director, our venue, our musicians, and a large number of our cast (including all the male singers except Chris and I). Enter Father John who was in the final preparations of transforming the basement of the old local Baptist church into a brewery/restaurant while keeping the sanctuary intact. Lisa approached John about allowing us to perform the show under his roof and the ball really began rolling.
The concept was totally yet uniquely changed. No longer were we going to present a full-scale treatment of the show but a choreographed concert version. Three featured singers would fill the major roles: a small choir would fill supporting roles as well as crowd elements. No orchestra but sung to recorded accompaniment tracks. Center stage would be the young people in the cast who dramatized the words being sung from the sides and back of the stage. A word about these talented youngsters. Each of them were given important roles to fill as well as dance steps. They had less than 2 weeks to perfect them. SOMEHOW, our prayers came to fruition and each of them were amazing!
In order to enhance the music and staging, Chris brilliantly suggested the addition of scripture readings relating to most of the songs which would be read between the numbers. Selfishly, I have to say that I have so admiration for this man. The gift and calling he has accepted and continues to exemplify is awe-inspiring to say the least.
After a LOT of literal sweat, tears and BLOOD (at my expense) those left standing at the end of this (at times) trying journey presented a show that succeeded in bringing glory to his name! Ultimately, my hope (as well as the 16 others who shared the entire experience) is that we deepened not only our own faith and relationship with Christ but also that we moved at least one person in our very receptive audience to do the same or perhaps introduce the power, grace, and love of our Lord and Savior. So thank you to my friends and family familiar as well as new for taking up your crosses and bringing the majesty and glory of a small portion of The Greatest Story Ever Told to life. Maybe it was not what some of us “signed up for” but I believe the end was remarkably glorious.
THANK YOU Samantha, Taylor, Justin, Elaine, Carrie, Shelby, Kayelyn, Chris, Lisa A, Lori, Carol, Linda, Alex, Dennis, Jose and Lisa H.