My experiences writing, directing and producing Christian musicals for kids through adults.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


After the surprise of losing one of the girls playing a major role in the Easter show (to vacation), I set about prayerfully re-arranging, with a bit of re-writing. Of course, one doesn't want to do a huge re-write with young people involved. That simply confuses them. I ended up changing the parts for four girls. The girl leaving was the senior of three angels. I gave her first scene to the junior-most angel, and a follow-up scene minus one line to another girl. That girl's lines I gave to a member of the chorus, who now gets to speak! And the second angel picked up a few more lines as well. Sound confusing? Well, all I can say is, it's more confusing to figure it out than to explain it!

Pertinent verse of the week: "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scheduling Shmeduling

Sometimes it seems like scheduling is the hardest part of this ministry.

Hey, it's often the hardest part of my life. Now that homeschooled high school junior Aaron is taking classes in three non-home locations -- community college, private homeschool co-op in Kirkland, and the homeschool co-op in Edmonds --figuring out which quarterly classes he can take, plus a new driving schedule every quarter, is very challenging.

That's nothing compared to scheduling a summer theatre camp. One would think finding two weeks during the summer would be easy . . . until you factor in SATs in June, holidays, high school missions trips, junior high events, weddings, and the other theatre camp Maggie and Jeremy attend. And suddenly two little weeks becomes this great behemoth one is trying to wedge into a very tiny calendar page.

I'm not the only one to experience scheduling woes. Tonight, with only 5-1/2 weeks to performance, one of the parents suddenly realized that her child, who has a major role, will be in Mexico the day of the performance. I repeat: in Mexico the day of the performance. With all the other things happening in her life and that of her family, she forgot when Easter was. We'll find a way around it, but this is why the first thing I ask parents to do when signing up for a show is CHECK YOUR CALENDAR!

Here are two questions for you. Are you double-booked on anything? How big a role does God play in your scheduling?

Broadway Sing-Along!

Sunday afternoon, Randy, Maggie and I went to a Broadway Sing-Along fundraiser put on by the Everett Chorale. The concept is simple: have a piano player to play the songs, a big screen for people to read the lyrics, and a supporting choir to help get people on tune and to perform, plus the conductor. For added fun, the conductor interspersed the songs with trivia questions. Maggie answered Ethel Merman to the question, Who originated the role of Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun? Randy and I got many correct as well.

The Sing-along was lots of fun. There was a substantial crowd and we sang songs from South Pacific, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, Kiss me, Kate . . . People sang pretty much in unison, although the conductor did suggest that one song be sung by just the women. I would have preferred to have sung "L'Chaim" from Fiddler, which is sung by Tevye and Lazar Wolf and others, in parts, rather than in unison, but it's still fun to sing those songs - and not just in one's own home.

One thing we noticed in looking over the shows represented, was that none of them opened after 1965!! So, if we were to hold our own Broadway Sing-Along fundraiser, what songs or shows would you like to have included? Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Costume Update!......and stuff....from Maggie!

Hi all from Maggie!
Well, the other day Mom and I went out and bought costume material! We got some awesome sparkly see-through material for our angels. They're going to wear white robes with the sparkly material over their tops and shoulders like a Roman chiton. And red fabric for our Roman soldiers. One month until performance and we still have a lot of blocking to do. Megan and I have choreographed a whole song and just need to teach it to the kids. Yay!
That's, like, all for now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Bus Trip from Hell . . . literarily

Yes, I wrote "literarily" and not "literally".

We attended Taproot Theatre's production of The Great Divorce last night. It's based on a book by C.S. Lewis, and no, it has nothing to do with divorce and marriage. [The 'divorce' reference is in response to William Blake's work The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Heaven and Hell do not join; they are eternally and even increasingly separate. Thus, the "great divorce".]

Instead, the story is about a man who finds himself on a bus ride from a horrible dreary place of angry and other dysfunctional people to a glorious, beautiful place. But it's not as easy as that. The travelers find upon arrival that they are too insubstantial to survive in this beautiful place; the very grass pokes into their ghostly feet. Inhabiting this beautiful place are beautiful, joyful people. They invite the ghosts to stay and grow more substantial; all they need do is give up their selfishness, let their egos die, and worship God instead of themselves.

Few do so. Many choose to go back to hell. George MacDonald guides C.S. Lewis through this journey - which, of course, is a dream, for once dead, people cannot really choose to leave Hell for Heaven. However, the play depicts the choices we make in everyday life in eternal terms.

Taproot Theatre (found at ) does a WONDERFUL job with this show. The acting is excellent. With the exception of C.S. Lewis, all the actors play multiple parts, and play them astonishingly well. It's amazing to see, for instance, Sam Vance go from angry Bilker, to joyful, welcoming Dick, to cringing and manipulative Frank; or for Pam Nolte, wife of director Scott Nolte and co-founder of Taproot, to go from a fearful and prideful woman in one scene, to an impressive Fire Angel in another.

The entire cast was awesome, but I have to also mention Nathan Jeffrey who impressed us greatly with his Tragedian character, and Faith Russell. Faith played three hugely disparate roles: a woman so obsessed with wanting to control and "improve" her husband even after death that she literally combusts; a joyful, majestic Waterfall Angel; and Sarah, a woman of great love and joy and humility.

While Taproot has always excelled in actors playing multiple parts (they put on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with a mere TEN actors!), this is the first time I've ever seen Taproot use puppetry - the sophisticated sort - in a production. We were blown away.

If you can, call the box office at 206.781.9707 to see if there are any tickets left.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A live band is great - but they won't fit in my kitchen

We're recording a few songs for the Easter show tonight. Our set-up consists of a PC loaded with Finale, a microphone, and our voices. Finale is a music-writing program than enables you to not only write sheet music, but have your computer play it for you! The harp sounds beautiful. Randy can choose from about 300 instruments and could arrange pieces with enough parts for a complete symphony orchestra!

About 3 years ago, Finale added the ability to record voices to add to the music and then burn it to CD. Voila! A great rehearsal CD!

So, here we are, standing in our kitchen's computer nook, singing into a mic. (I'm blogging in between takes.) It takes us a lot less time than it used to; we make fewer mistakes and like studio musicians, we can read music pretty well.

Who Hair

No, that's not a question, or anything to do with Roger Daltrey.

Maggie was in a production of Seussical this last weekend, and had fun designing her Who's hairdo. Her regular hair is currently 35 inches long - almost a yard! She created this by twisting her hair and clipping it in back, and then she used bands to raise up the ends in little branches. We think it looks very Seuss-like.