After a month in release Fireproof is still #11

Going into it's fifth weekend, Fireproof is maintaining it's place of #11 at the box office, and the film with a $500k budget has now crested $24M according to Variety.



Tale of Two Cities is a big hit on Broadway

I'm glad to see there are others that share my thoughts about Tale of Two Cities.  Here's what I blogged after seeing it:

My favorite theatrical hours of late were spent at the new musical, A Tale of Two Cities. While creating our documentary on Eric Liddell (details will be announced soon for our Western Hemisphere debut) we discovered that Liddell was meorizing the last three chapters of Dickens' masterpiece. It truly is worth meditating on the story of a man giving his life for another. The whole cast was great, but James Barbour, who played Sydney Carton, was extaordinary. Right from the start he was making choices that were absolutely captivating.

Rich

Begin forwarded message:

Could Tale of Two Cities be the Next Les Miserables on Broadway?
Teresa Neumann (October 30, 2008)

"The musical...honors the central theme, taken from Christianity, of sacrificing one life to save others." After performances, audiences stand, cheer, and weep.
Sounding like shades of the French Revolution—oppressed peasantry vs. jaded royalty—
World Magazine has published an article exposing the deep cultural divide in America as it relates to the new Broadway musical A Tale of Two Cities, based on Dickens' seminal masterpiece.

Writes reporter Marvin Olasky: "The
 [New York] Times sneered at the production based on Charles Dickens' novel...another reviewer, from Toronto, complained about the reaction of apparently ignorant theater-goers: 'The audience stood and cheered . . . some even wept.'"
"That's what happened the night I attended," Olasky remarks. "The singing and staging were excellent, and the colorful Dickensian plot moved along and moved attendees. Afterwards, I wasn't surprised to find that most of the 85 online responses to the
 Times review gave the musical five stars (out of five) and included comments like 'the best of times despite The New York Times.'" 
Olasky wonders if the criticism from New York elites is due to the fact that 
Jill Santoriello, who wrote the new show's book, lyrics, and music is a self-taught novice (a threat to the inner circle of well-educated and well-groomed professionals). Or, muses Olasky, it could be that theology plays a role considering the main theme of Dickens' novel is self-sacrifice centering on the Scripture"I am the Resurrection and the Life."
Regardless, it seems the people have spoken, and in New York—as it is everywhere—if they continue to come, the play will go on.
Source: Marvin Olasky - World Magazine







Cooper Union's IV


Last night I portrayed The Good Shepherd and Joyce preached on John 10 for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (http://www.intervarsity.org) at Cooper Union. In the documentary Changing Lives: The Peter Cooper Story I got to do the voice of Peter Cooper, who founded the school. It continues to operate on his principal that the college should be free. I'm sorry to say they don't offer a degree in theatre! So that students appreciate the value of their education, they are each awarded a full scholarship, which declares it's value at $30,000.

What a great group of students we met! Their worship and fellowship was so heartwarming. It made me wish I would have attended a student fellowship when I was in school. I remember making the choice not to attend because I was so busy, and because I had my own church. But the value of knowing some fellow Christians on campus, worshiping with them and lifting each other up in prayer would have been so valuable.

Should I ever be called to another degree at a secular school, I'll know what to do!

This group was started by a young man from our church. It started last year as six students in his living room, and now they've already divided into two groups to accommodate schedules, and the one we attended had over thirty!

If your school doesn't have one, consider starting one. Joy Freschly can help. Her email is on the Contact page of http://MasterWorksFestival.org.

Fireproof still at #11

In its fourth week in theatres, Fireproof has only slipped to #11 at the box office, and it has now crested $20M according to Variety.



Everywhere you look there's beauty!

Beautiful!

Sunrise

My Treo can't come close to doing this justice!

It's easy to worship an Artist that paints like that!

Waking in WI

I'm here near Kenosha for Salvation Army's Central Territorial Worship Conference: http://usc.SalvationArmy.org

The air's a little crisper here, the leaves are certainly more beautiful, and it's great to be among a people ready to worship!

Fireproof still in top 10 after 3 weekends

I was delighted to see Fireproof stay in the top ten at the box office for it's third week. Their $500k investment has now made almost $17M.



A particularly nice view

We always love the view at Manhattan Plaza, but tonight it's especially great.

Christened by Eric Liddell

The Daily Record, a British publication, just ran an article on a woman who was christened by Eric Liddell in a kitchen of the internment where she spent her first three years: 'Scots Olympic great Eric Liddell helped me survive concentration camp horror'.

Olympic Hero in China

November 14, 7pm
Olympic Hero in China:
The Eric Liddell Story

World Premiere of English narration by Rich Swingle

Followed by slides from our 22,400 miles in 36 days with 40 audiences, 5 nations of Asia surrounding the Beijing Olympics.

The Ellington Room
Manhattan Plaza
400 W 43rd St
NYC

No charge; no donations allowed.

The documentary will also be screened on November 20 at our home church, Westchester Chapel. We'll have a free dinner at 6:30, and we'll start the documentary after 7pm.

I've already given the slide show about our trip to Asia at Westchester Chapel, so if you missed it, be sure to come to the New York showing.

See Fireproof!

Wow! Amazing!

Variety called it "The biggest surprise" of the week.

In their first seven days they made $8.4M. That put them at a respectable #4 at the B.O., but with $10,039 per theatre they were less than $500/screen off of #1 for that category. Not bad for a $500k budget!

If you've got a good marriage this film will inspire you to make it better. If you're engaged or newly married you've got to see this film. If your marriage isn't as good as you want it to be you MUST see this film. If you're a teenager this film will give you a vision of how to build a solid marriage.

But Fireproof isn't just a theatrical marriage seminar. It's entertaining! For a cast made up mostly of amateurs this is truly remarkable film making. The makers of Facing the Giants are improving on their craft. The car on the track scene (I'm not giving too much away since it's glimpsed in the trailer) is so gripping because you know they didn't have the budget for CGI (which the credits confirmed). Our theatre on Times Square was packed, and people laughed so loud at the humor I've got to see it again because I missed so many lines! And on the other side of things I was moved to tears again and again.

Were there some holes? For what they paid and the experience they had you have to expect that. Was it an enjoyable, entertaining film. Absolutely!

See it soon to cast your vote for more films like it.

Facing the Giants

To order Facing the Giants, click here.

MWF08 - Theatre


Thanks to Stephanie Terranova we now have shots from the MWF '08 Theatre program and production of Tartuffe online. Click here.

Favorites On and Off-Broadway

I've wanted to see Blue Man Group all 15 years I've lived here, and they didn't disappoint. Though they only opened their mouths to eat there was a wealth of lessons for actors:
1. Listen to each other. at least one of the actors we saw has been doing this show for 16 years, but it felt as fresh as if they were making their discoveries for the first time.
2. It's not about words. Words only make up 7% of communication, and these guys were communicating volumes. Most intriguing was how they expressed their relationships to each other and to the audience.
3. Be as big as you need to be. Their whole schtick is based on subtlety, but when they need to be big, they don't hold back! Their energy is stupendous!

Another standout was A Man for All Seasons. Our friend, David Lander, who designed lights for Fire Off-Broadway (my NYC run with Roger Nelson) lit this Roundabout production brilliantly...so to speak. It was so encouraging to see Broadway explore a man literally laying down his life for his beliefs. Frank Langella plays Sir Thomas More, who served as Henry VIII's chancellor, but resigned when Henry made himself the head of the church in England so he could annul his marriage.

My favorite theatrical hours of late were spent at the new musical, A Tale of Two Cities. While creating our documentary on Eric Liddell (details will be announced soon for our Western Hemisphere debut) we discovered that Liddell was memorizing the last three chapters of Dickens' masterpiece. It truly is worth meditating on the story of a man giving his life for another. The whole cast was great, but James Barbour, who played Sydney Carton, was extraordinary. Right from the start he was making choices that were absolutely captivating.