Off the collar



Christine MacMillan, the Commissioner of this Territory (all of Canada and Bermuda) for the Salvation Army, greeted the Territorial School of Music and Gospel Arts during our midweek festival. She brought Kirk Guthrie up to illustrate how it's not about the externals but about the heart. She said the Salvation Army regulations require women to keep their hair off their collars. She asked Kirk for his hair dresser's number since his do fits the bill.

Tonight an online magazine and blog for Salvo youth is being launched: BoundlessMagazine.com. The first 50 to contribute short articles are in the running for a free iPod Shuffle.

This is God...

[This post was published in Christianity and Theatre, Fall/Winter 2005.]

...at least she played the role of God in enacted prayer.

I've been teaching enacted prayer to different electives all week. It's a prayer form in which a real prayer request is prayed for through a form of mime. Different actors take on the roles of those being prayed for.

On the first day I taught it to the kids of faculty. Kylie Way, in the picture, lept up to play God in a number of prayers. That night we did an enacted prayer for a family, so the kids actually came up and played kids. It was awesome!

This morning we did an enacted prayer for New Orleans. Everyone who was in one of the classes came up to either play someone who died, someone who was grieving, or a servant of God bringing comfort. The gal playing God actually started raising people from the dead! Then our chaplain, Danielle Strickland, led everyone to either be someone from New Orleans or someone comforting them.

Lord, hear our prayer! Raise New Orleans up from this death as a city known not for its sin but for its love for the Lord! Amen.

Revival Fire Fall!

Thank you so much for your prayers! I could seriously feel them all day long.

Tonight I performed The Revelation and when I was done I added something spontaneously: I offered to put the mark of the cross on people's foreheads if they wanted to declare that they were a servant of the Lord.

One of the first fellows to come running up to be sealed was a young man who accepted Jesus tonight as covering for his sins.

The band played "one more song" as people filed out to be sealed. About 20 had been sealed when all heaven broke loose! We praised out of control to just a drum beat for over half an hour! This is day 3 of 8. Pray these students will keep going deeper.

I'm Diving In!

This afternoon I'm flying to Toronto to perform The Revelation, teach, and direct at the Salvation Army's Territorial School for Music and Gospel Arts. Last year it was AMAZING. Click here for my reflections on last year's event: Territorial '04.

This year the director of the program, Len Ballantine, is expecting even greater things:

The news is good. We will have at least 145 delegates plus faculty at Territorial this year! That is a significant increase over last season and the third year running showing an increase. While we know its not just about 'numbers' the stats do tell us quite a bit:
1. Music and the Arts continues to provide a relevant point of contact with the current generation.
2. The young people must like what's on offer.
3. They are spiritually hungry and we believe the 'buzz' is bringing them in.
4. The Lord has seen fit to honour our prayers and add to our responsibility. We accept the challenge.


I'll appreciate your prayers all week.

The View from the Castle

Preshow
We're munching our dinner in the castle that overlooks the theatre which hosts Shakespeare in the park and tonights Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Intermission
Very cleverly reconceived. I see why it won the Tony in 1972. The music (yup) is by Galt MacDermot (Hair) and John Guare, who also had a hand in adapting the script so that it could be understood by people on the streets when it toured the five boroughs in'71.

Buster the dog just proved the adage that you never want to be on stage with a baby or an animal. The pooch is almost as much of a scene stealer as Valentine's servant, played by John Cariani, the forensics tech from Law and Order.

Curtain
The scene stealer of the second act was Julia's servant, played by Megan Lawrence, twice nominated for the Helen Hayes Award..

Its sensibilities remain in the '70's, with the exception of a spoof on the aerial combat of The Matrix and when the Duke of Milan rolled in on a Razor.

On Line

I'm waiting on line (for West Coast readers that's how they say "in line" out here) to see Two Gentlemen of Verona at Shakespeare in Central Park. Tickets are free but they don't give them out for five more hours. I'm 23rd in line.

Usually by this point I'd be behind all the folks in the photo (now only 3.5 hours left), but reviews don't come out until tomorrow. Unless it's panned the lines will be longer starting tomorrow. With press in the house tonight could be the best show of the run! It's a gorgeous day. The woman two places behind me said after waiting for hours for the last Shakespeare in the Park it was rained out.

The longest lines in their history were for The Seagull. Mike Nichols directed Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and on and on. John Goodman had the smallest role. The woman next to me said she had a friend that got on line at 4 am. (I'm surprised she got a seat. I was there at 8 pm the night before.) One of the employees was counting people and tried to stir someone who had fallen asleep under a bush. They discovered the person was dead.

"That's worse than rain," declared the woman two spots down.

Mini-Honeymoon

After Joyce's major surgery (RichDrama.com/Joyce) and my very full week at TAM (RichDrama.com/NewsBlog. Scroll down.) we snuck away for a couple of beach days on Long Island.

#2 at iTunes

My cousin, Nick Brophy, played guitar and wrote two songs
icon for Hootie & the Blowfish's CD, which was just released today: Looking for Lucky. Both songs deal with painful relationships. Right now the album is #2 at iTunes.

#1 Instrumental Metal



My friend David Wallace, who teaches viola at Julliard among a number of other things, just had his album Nahum / What a Friend debut as CD Baby's #1 selling instrumental metal CD.

The Lord is sweeter than chocolate


Our final service culminated in multisensory worship, complete with a chocolate fountain. It looks solid even from a foot away, but the chocolate is flowing. Our chaplain, Janet Munn, said that honey was the sweetest substance when the Psalms were being written, but today, chocolate is at the top of our list. So as we nibbled fruit drenched from the flow of confection we made our confession of God's sweetness in our lives.


We also had the opportunity to wash each other's hands, heads, and/or feet. We could gaze into mirrors and contemplate what it means to be made in the image of God. And, we savor the aroma of scented candles as we thought about how our prayers are a sweet aroma to God.

The revival of Thursday night has translated into action. The next morning we pledged to raise $10,000 by December 1, and $50,000 by TAM next year to build up an orphanage in Africa. The performance last night, which went very well, brought in $1,864 bringing our total to $2,659.

We're well on our way. If you would like to pledge to support these heroes for the poor, send an email to Ian Evans. He'll send you information on how to give.

My small group

These are the guys in my small group. Back: Kelly, Tony, Daniel, Elisha. Front: Terrylee, and Evan. We closed our session with the footwashing from my short piece, Journey to the Garden.

Pray for our whole conservatory as we perform our final piece tonight at 7:30 EST.

Revival revives

Most mornings I've been dragging myself out of bed, since our schedule for TAM is jam packed, but this morning I all but sprang from the springs after what happened last night.

Carol Jaudes (CATS) performed with her troupe: Ian Evans, Chris Stoker, and Amber Peacock (my assistant here), with Karen Krinjak at piano. The play was Treasures of Eternity, written by a former TAM instructor, Becki Philips, and directed by my agent, Dale Savidge. The play was about heroes of the Salvation Army: people who made a significant difference in the lives of those around them. After the play, our chaplain, Janet Munn, leapt to the stage to challenge our students to become the heroes of the next generation. She invited them to pray toward that end, and one of the faculty members acknowledged that repentance was a part of preparing to be heroes. One of the students in my small group made an actual confession of a specific sin, and we covered him with prayer. Then others all around the room began confessing and praying for forgiveness and for other specific requests. We were sobbing.

It was awesome!

Pray that in the remaining three days the Holy Spirit will visit us again. For any online this morning we'd appreciate specific prayer over this morning's group devotion. Pray that our worship and prayer would be impacted in a deep way by what happened last night.

Like Janet said last night, "Fill us again, Lord. We leak!"

We've got revival breaking out!

If you're online pray for us!

David and Bathsheba

This is the cast I'm working with this week: Amber (my assistant), Christine, Liz, Steven, Daniel (kneeling), David, and Tyler. What a great bunch! Pray for us as we bring the story of David and Bathsheba to life.

On our way in to see Fiddler

We had intended to take an after shot when we were all wiped out, pulling into the parking lot after midnight, but our conversations about the show kept popping! Our group got seats on the front row, so the only way to have been closer to the action would have been to be on stage ourselves.

Before hand I took my group to my office at the Helen Hayes Theatre, where the stage manager was kind enough to give us a backstage tour of the smallest Broadway theatre.

The 48 hour commute

Our theme at TAM this year is Be a Hero, based on the book by the same title by Wesley Campell and Stephen Court (who was one of the leaders of the Territorial School of Music and Gospel Arts near Toronto last year. Stephen and his wife, Danielle Strickland led us into revival).

We're listening to a hero right now: Vergilio flew all the way from Mozambique to study the arts at TAM and to tell us about the work he does all over Africa ministering to AIDS orphans.

He said most of the people in Mozambique are HIV+, but still there is a stigma attached to the kids who's parents die of AIDS. The Salvation Army hires him to help the kids realize they're loved by God just as much as the other children.

See the music. Hear the silence.

We experienced PUSH Theatre Co. last night, who brought a double standing ovation with their work that was part mime, part dance, part strength/balance a la Cirque du Soleil. It was absolutely amazing, and this morning they worked with us, teaching us some of their technique. Tre cool.

Drinking God through her palms

We're hearing Ann Van Cleave sing "The Broadway Boogiewoogie" before seeing her on Broadway tomorrow night playing Miralla in Fiddler on the Roof.

She said the choreographer told them the reason he has their hands in the air so much is because he wants them drinking God through the palms of their hands.

Out there

This is the 5th year of the Salvation Army's Territorial Arts Ministries' Conservatory.

Right now Carol Jaudes, former CAT and director of the conservatory, is asking students how they've incorporated things they've leaned during previous years in their lives. We're hearing about people starting dance, theatre, and mime programs in their local corps (churches) and colleges all over the Northeast..

In the photo Emily Furman (one of my students 2 years ago) is sharing about an improv club she started at her school.

Pray for us this week as we equip these young people to go out and do more.

Moved

The performance this morning blessed me immensely. I know that's not necessarily how it's supposed to work, but this piece (Journey to the Garden--listed under short pieces) always brings me closer the Lord by portraying Him.

This church, Valley Community in Poughkeepsie, has grown over the years that I've been performing for them (you're only seing half of the sanctuary on a summer Sunday). They built a church at a major crossroads (as our church is called to do: scroll down to Westchester Chapel) and they've grown three times in size in less than 2 years.

It's downright scary...

..staying with people who have The Creature from the Black Lagoon as their guard dog.

Actually the Saloomey family has 5 guard dogs (but only 19 legs between them). They get host of the year award for providing corn on the cob picked that morning, eggs laid the day before, and 1st c. accoutrements for my performance tomorrow morning.

The Mighty Hudson

I'm cruising up the Hudson en route to Poughkeepsie, where I'll perform Journey to the Garden tomorrow morning.

In my rehearsal this morning I connected in a very deep way Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane with his final words on the cross: "Take this cup/Your will be done" and "Why have you forsaken me?/Into your hands I commit my spirit." What a gigantic (too small of a word) sacrifice.

Pray I can communicate some element of that sacrifice in a deep way, and that the piece will make a lasting impression of the great love it represents.

In Christ alone,
Rich

Westchester Chapel

On Sundays my wife, Joyce, and I commute out of NYC to attend a small church in White Plains, NY, (WestchesterChapel.org). The pastor, Jim Warren, produced ads for Broadway and was the Creative Director at MTV before he was saved, and he loves to use all the arts in worship and evangelism. We've needed a larger space for some time now, and we've just come across a building that is double our current size. It happens to be double what we're paying in rent, but the Lord has shown us clearly that He will provide. I'm sure that in no time we'll double in size, but for our first year or so we need a bit of extra support.

If you'd like to invest in ministry through the arts in the NYC area, please consider supporting Westchester Chapel.

The MasterWorks Festival

We just had a fabulous time at the MasterWorks Festival, and you can follow our exploits in my June and July archives to my blog.

The artistic and spiritual seeds that were planted continue to grow as we've stayed in community through the internet: lifting each other up in prayer and encouragement. Last night we even had an online chat.

The Festival based their budget on some significant grants that they had expected year after year. The grants fell through, so they really had to scramble. They ended in the black barely, and now their doing the same thing in England. Please pray for them now, and if you can give to their mininstry, I'd be quite grateful: Support MasterWorks.

We're already looking forward to next year!

In Christ Alone,
Rich

Pray for Joyce's recovery


Please pray for Joyce as she recovers from surgery.

Pray for strength to return and for her to stay positive.

If you're not signed up for updates on her health you can do so and/or find out more at RichDrama.com/Joyce.