We've arrived in Kenya!

At least a dozen of these
monkeys live on the ANU
campus.
We've arrived in Kenya!

We'll present in six chapels at Africa Nazarene University.

On Wednesday Joyce and I will portray Harmon and Lula Schmelzenbach, who were the first missionaries in the Church of the Nazarene, which is our denomination. Their grandson founded ANU, and this week they're celebrating the school's 25th anniversary and Harmon Schmelzenbach III's promotion to Glory. We count ourselves incredibly blessed to share the legacy of the Schmelzenbach family on this continent.

Here's a powerful sermon by Harmon Schmelzenbach III:



If you're receiving this in an email you can listen at www.Blog.RichDrama.com.





I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Give Your Life for the Lord

This morning at Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene Joyce taught on John 12:20-36.

Also, Pastor Jim and Dr. Linda Warren lead the community in prayer over us before our missions trip to Africa, which begins in a week!

Opening and prayer by Melanie Solomon. Joyce mentions the mini-series Lost Legacy Reclaimed, about the early Church in Northern Africa.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Give Your Happiness to God!

I got up early to drive about four hours to church from the Hollywood Divine International Film Festival, where I performed and taught. We always commute 90 minutes each way to worship with our church family, but this week we celebrated our founding pastors for Pastor Appreciation Day, and I wasn't about to miss that! Because I already knew I'd be there, I didn't hesitate to lead worship, too. In my intro I shared about how the Lord was orchestrating things at the film festival.

Rachel Taylor shares from 1 Samuel 2: 1-10 on how to allow the Lord to define our happiness as we continue our series on Giving as God Gives! Dr. Linda Warren opens in prayer and leads us in worship in giving.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.




I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

See Jesus and Take Action

This morning Joyce and I challenged Warwick Church of the Nazarene to see Jesus, what He did for us, and to take action.

At the opening, Joyce mentioned our upcoming trip to Africa to perform and speak at Africa Nazarene University next month. She mentioned that we're expanding our sketch on Harmon Schmelzenbach, the first missionary in the Church of the Nazarene. What she left out is that the expansion is in her section of the piece. She'll be sharing the dramatic testimony of Lula Schmelzenbach.

She also refers to my performance the night before of I Dreamed I Was Free, and how the performance was used to raise awareness of modern slavery.

I read excerpts from the Book of John , and she taught on those passages.

At the close of the service, Selah Cohen of Sensory Bible Experiences, blew the shofar and prayed the Aaronic blessing in Hebrew!

Click the arrow below, or if you're receiving this in an email, you can find this at the top of www.Blog.RichDrama.com.



If you'd like to know more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, visit www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.




I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Treasure Seekers and other projects for Children

Joyce and I just ran into a woman from the UK with an adorable child who just couldn't stay awake! It was the fourth time in three days that I wished I had one URL for all the children's projects in which I've performed, so I jotted down this URL before it was created: www.RichDrama.com/ForChildren.

Now it works, but I realized I have a number of Treasure Seeker episodes, and I need to pack for my flight to Ft. Worth tomorrow so I'm ready to teach at the Content 19 Actors Boot Camp! So I'll add the Treasure Seekers episodes later, but for now, you can find most of them at www.WestchesterChapel.org/TreasureSeekers.

I pray they'll keep your child awake! :-)


See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Second Chances


I just finished performing in what I think will become my next favorite movie! 


What a joy to work with these young servants of the Lord! 

I love it because it's such a powerful picture of how the Lord can transform a life, even one broken by pain, guilt and loss. No one is beyond the Lord's reach. 



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Overcomer


My new favorite film is the Kendrick Brothers' Overcomer.

I heard the producer, Stephen Kendrick, speak at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival in 2013, its final year. He said that Christian filmmaking was just past its infancy. He said we're going stand on our own two feet. We're going to walk, and then we're going to run. We've seen the Kendricks Brothers' films come a long way over the years, and now they're seriously humming!

Beth Becka serves as their acting coach these days, and she's putting the actors through their paces. She addressed our students at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp from the set of Overcomer, though at the time she could only tell us it was K6, the Kendricks' sixth film. But she shared generously about her approach...which is Meisner-based...for the actors reading this.

The opening drone shot was profound! Chad Burns who directed me in Beyond the Mask was their director of previsualization, and I'm guessing he conceived it, and he probably had help from Ethan and Ashley Leddin who did special effects. They did the most SFX of any Christian-themed film at the time for Beyond the Mask and just before this they created the screen that changed everything in Unplanned.

Alex Kendrick directed, and he plays John Harrison, a basketball coach on the verge of the season in which his team is going to win it all! The best players for their strongest competition are graduating, and his students are just coming into their strength. Then a local manufacturing plant moves, and so do many of the families of John's players, as do many of the faculty because they see the school is dwindling. So John is asked to step in and coach cross-country, which he doesn't think is a sport... until he runs three miles. The effect three miles has on the three Harrison men is a "running" joke that keeps getting better. The two Harrison boys are definitely not going to join the team, leaving John with one runner: and she's asthmatic.

If that doesn't sound like the makings of your favorite movie, just wait. Overcomer is absolutely outstanding! It had me early on when Cameron Arnett, playing a blind man dying of diabetes and its complications, had his first scene, but his work kept getting richer and deeper! And the Kendricks connect the dots so beautifully! The way they tie identity into the storyline is stunning. In a world that doesn't know what it is anymore, everyone really does need to see this film.

At the New York Media InitiativeShari Rigby shared with us the dramatic story of her getting the role of John's wife, and she showed the human side and the Spirit-filled side of a wife who is there for her family and the Kingdom.

Aryn Wright-Thomas makes her film debut as Hannah Scott. Her IMDb bio says, "Aryn Wright-Thomas is an actress." That's it, but she sure is! Alex and Beth brought out some fine performances from her, as she takes us on several emotional roller coasters. She helps define another important theme in the film: The importance of fatherhood. One of my favorite sermons I ever heard --by John Langlois when he served as the director of pastoral care at the MasterWorks Festival--was on the Father Heart of God. He pointed out that we all have imperfect fathers. They might be absent, delinquent, or abusive, but even if they're great, they're still imperfect. Priscila C. Shirer plays the school principal, and she basically brought the final message of John's sermon to Hannah: God is the perfect Father.

The Kendrick Brothers are used to taking chances on first time actors when the the Lord directs them to do so. I heard Stephen Kendrick speak at the Christian Worldview Film Festival, and he told how Sony wanted to know who would be playing the lead in War Room. They were shocked to hear Priscila C. Shirer had zero acting credits on stage or film. But she's been moving audiences for years as an author and speaker, and she got to bring home the scene that moved me the most.

After reading this review as it was first posted Beth said,
What many do not realize when they see great performances is that most of the work is done in casting well, which Alex certainly did. And while it’s my job to run the actors through their paces in pre-production rehearsals and to encourage them on set, Alex’s excellent direction and the actors’ hard work is where credit is due. Bottom line is, God gets the glory for bringing this incredible cast and crew together for such a time as this.
My favorite film for 35 years was Chariots of Fire. It was the film that inspired me as a cross-country and track runner. If I were still running competitively Overcomer would be my Chariots of Fire. The climax of the film is one of the best cinematic moments I can ever remember. All I'll say is that I heard my coach, Hans Voskes coaching me on when Hannah was in the big race! When Stephen Kendrick spoke in 2013 he mentioned being inspired by Chariots of Fire and wanting to do a sequel. I ran, well, I pushed my way through the crowd to get to him to tell him I was working on a screenplay based on my one-man play Beyond the Chariots. Though Joseph Fiennes beat us both to the finish line on that one, I'm glad Stephen got to do something that moved this Chariots of Fire fan as much--I truly think more--than the original.

After a long applause in the AMC Empire Theatre on Times Square someone--and no, it wasn't me--shouted out Academy Award! Chariots of Fire won four. We live in a very different world today, but I really hope Overcomer gets the recognition it deserves.

I haven't read any secular reviews. I'm sure some of them will say the transformed lives it shows are unrealistic, since they won't be able to knock it on any artistic merits. But for those of us who are intimately acquainted with life transformation, it's spot on.

Click below to watch the trailer, or if you're getting this in an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/Overcomer.




See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

Praise the Lord for His Wonder

This morning at Westchester Chapel, Joyce mentioned our trip to her hometown of Rhinelander, WI, during my #SevenWeeksOfWonder. My reflection in the service was a memory from the novel Les Misérables from 30 years ago!

These stories were invited by Pastor Randy and Melanie Solomon's very interactive exploration of Psalm 19 and 104. Many members of WCCC shared their testimonies of the wonder of the Lord and his creation. Pastor Randy mentioned The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ, which was made into a major motion picture.

From Rich's performance at the
Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo, Norway
Dr. Linda Warren mentioned my upcoming performance of my one-man play about John Woolman who spoke against slavery over a century before the Civil War in America. It will be at Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene on September 28 at 6pm. She mentions my performance of that play last year in Norway. You can find out more about that at www.RichDrama.com/IDreamedIWasFree

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.




I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Seven Weeks of Wonder

I recently returned from seven weeks on the road. It was a mix of teaching, coaching, performing and spending time with family. You can see highlights searching for #SevenWeeksOfWonder on this blogInstagram and Facebook.



See the rest of Olympic champion Eric Liddell's Chariots of Fire story in Beyond the Chariots. Watch it online and book a live performance.

The Ledger and Mine


I got to perform and serve as acting coach on two projects outside Calgary, Canada, over the past two weeks.

The first project was a film competition. On June 30 we were given three elements which had to be included in the film: a key verse (I Samuel 12:14), a prop (a book), and an action (a broken leg). We had a week to write, produce and edit a film. We finished with seven minutes to spare!

I can't wait to share the final product with you, but I must. They'll announce the finalists in August, and if we make the cut we won't be able to share it with the world until after the Way of the Storytellers Conference, January 19, 2020.

I can at least share that we titled it "The Ledger," and I got to play the lead and do a bit of actor coaching. We're all really pleased with how it turned out, and we did a screening for the team and close friends and family, and they seemed to love it, too. There were a number of miracles along the way, which seems to always be the case with Christian filmmaking.

After finishing that project, we moved on to a scripted project, "Mine." I played a key role, and served as acting coach. My character comforts a woman who is struggling with the guilt and loss of having gone through an abortion. My character offers support and hope. It's really a beautiful little piece, and I hope it brings hope to many!

Our team for both of these projects was just phenomenal! I'd love to work with any and all again on future projects!


We finished filming a day early, so we went to Banff. It was my second trip, but I truly hope it's not my last! It's just stunning! 
Some of us went on to Lake Louise to watch the sunset, and that was even better! Click here for more photos.

I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp 2019

We had another great group of students at this year's Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers and Actors Camp! I got to coach our acting students in a short piece by Zack Lawrence called "Loneliness," and I really think it will resonate with a lot of people, and prayerfully it will encourage them greatly! I also got to play the role of the lead character's father, so that was fun, too.

Here it is:



We created this scene for our two actors who had the fewest lines. We devised it through sociodrama (www.RichDrama.com/Workshops).





We'll open registration for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp for 2020 in the fall. Sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates to get the announcement.

The Perfect Stranger


Last night, after a series of great dinners with great friends, we watched The Perfect Stranger, which is the ultimate great dinner! A cynical lawyer gets an invitation to dinner at her favorite restaurant with Jesus Christ, and He answers all of her questions, quite profoundly. I highly recommend it!

I posted about the dinners and the movie on social media, and almost immediately my friend Katie Lentz commented: Rich! In The Perfect Stranger, Nikki is played by my friend Pamela! You met her when we saw you in Revelation. Cool connection!

I'll say it's a cool connection! I got to thinking about it, and when Pamela saw Revelation she watched my character interact with Jesus. So, my mind kept going on this. I first saw The Perfect Stranger in the Philippines while performing and teaching some workshops at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, where I just found out our host for one of our dinners had taught a few years before I was there. The man playing Jesus with my character in Revelation was played by a Filipino.

So I had a little whoah moment, but my brain kept noodling. That cool God wink wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been in Revelation, which happened because I "happened" to be at the only combined gathering of Mastermedia and The Hang that I'm aware of. That was where I shared that I do a 1-man play about The Revelation, and the producers later called to see if I'd perform the role of John in their Off-Broadway musical.

But Pamela wouldn't have seen Revelation the Musical if Katie hadn't invited her, and Katie wouldn't be alive if it weren't for a series of extraordinary miracles after an extreme car wreck (main miracles, follow-up).

I wouldn't have seen The Perfect Stranger in the Philippines if I hadn't met the folks who invited me to perform there while I was in Indiana, and I wouldn't have been there if I hadn't been invited to teach for one week... that turned into 16 years at the MasterWorks Festival. I wouldn't have been invited to teach for that week if I hadn't been a member of Christians in Theatre Arts.

And you wouldn't be reading this if I wasn't pondering it hours before I'd planned on getting up for my last work day before leaving town for seven weeks. I felt like the Lord wanted me to take the time to write this up. Maybe it was for you.

If you don't notice the profound things the Lord is doing all around you, I invite you to have dinner with Jesus.

I write more about that at www.RichDrama.com/MyPassion.



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area or watch at home.

The Mountain Contest

I'm so pleased with the final edit of "The Mountain Contest!" It's the latest episode on Airship Genesis, and I got to reprise my role as Elijah! 
For about 20 years I've been doing a short play about Elijah called "Prophet of Fear" (www.RichDrama.com/ShortPieces). In 2005 I got to perform it on Mt. Carmel, where the Airship Genesis story also takes place. 

Stay tuned for information on the release of their upcoming mobile game in which I'll reprise another role, John the Baptist: www.RichDrama.com/AirshipGenesis.



I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Joshua Faith Challenge

Today is the first day of a Great Experiment, hosted by Christian Union, a campus ministry to the "Ivies," the eight Ivy League universities. You don't have to be a graduate to take part.
One of our commitments is to do a Joshua Faith Challenge, stepping beyond our daily routines to expand the Kingdom of God in a way that is larger than our typical patterns. I've chosen one of their suggestions which is to daily post the Good News that Jesus loves you every day on social media. I'd love to share testimonies from others of how the Lord has changed your life through a relationship with Him. Please post yours below, and I'll share it on my Facebook and Instagram pages.  

I got to speak at Christian Union's Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action a few years ago (www.RichDrama.com/IvyLeague), and it gave me great hope for our future to see 500 of our nation's brightest students from all eight Ivies worshipping the Lord with wild abandon and talking about using their world-class degrees to expand the Lord's Kingdom on earth.  
I'm tagging them on Facebook and Instagram as #RichSwingleJoshuaFaithChallenge. 


There are still openings for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp this summer, where I'll be teaching acting for film.