Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our cast for Much Ado About Nothing

After much discussion and prayer we have cast our MasterWorks Festival production of Much Ado About Nothing with the following cast:



Understudy
Benedick Esh Ryans Craig Fairbanks

Beatrice Isabella Cardine Tiffany Rott

Claudio Timothy Bartlett Zachary Mull

Hero Rachel Marley Kelly Stagner

Leonata Morgan Robertson Sophia Pearson

Don Pedro Samuel Carr Rich Swingle

Don John Zachary Mull Samuel Carr

Margaret Emma Baker Morgan Robertson  
Borachio Craig Fairbanks Timothy Bartlett

Concetta (Younger sister of Borachio) Tiffany Rott Christina Doerr

Major Francesca Vickie Smith Rachel Marley

Dogberry Kelaiah Baggot Kaitlynn Newcomb

Vera Kelly Stagner Emma Baker

Balthasara Christina Doerr Kelaiah Baggot


If you're in Northern Indiana, the Pittsburgh area or NYC we hope you can see a performance: www.RichDrama.com/Schedule.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer Sendoff

This morning I had the opportunity to speak briefly about my upcoming work at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and The MasterWorks Festival, including our performances in an Off-Broadway theatre in late JulyPastor Randy Solomon preached on Romans 5:1-11. Joyce opened with prayer.  Pastor Linda Warren prayed over my work and closed the service.



Pastor Randy used illustrations from Engineering Ethics: The Challenger Disaster and the Story of “The Five Lepers,” The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, God's Not Dead, which is still in theatres after nine weeks, and John G. Paton: An Autobiography.

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.

WCCC Worship 5/25/14 by RichS on Grooveshark Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad. Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Report from Sochi

We just received this from the folks that organized our work in Russia during the Olympics...

Engage Sochi partners and friends -
We have just finished working through all of the contact sheets for the Engage Sochi project and have been crunching the numbers. As you know, it was our goal that Engage Sochi would be primarily about church planting, specifically in the host city of Sochi. And, the goal of this phase of the project was to generate new contacts so that IMB church planters in Sochi could follow-up and host events that will draw these new people into English Clubs, Bible studies, etc. While statistics do not always paint a complete picture, I think that you can see that the goal was achieved.
Through February and March we hosted approximately 230 volunteers,
14 IMB personnel, and 2 MKs. We estimate that the combined group distributed between 17,000-17,500 evangelism pins.
During the Olympic period, we saw 5 people make professions of faith!
The group recorded approximately 400 individual contacts, some of which did not contain enough information for church planters to be able to make follow-up contact, so 371 contacts.Of those contacts, 94 percent of the people came from Russia. Of that 94-percent, 47-percent (164 people) were from Sochi; 33-percent (115 people) were from European Russia. Siberia and the Far East each had 3-percent of the contacts. And 14-percent (50 people) gave contact information but did not include from which city the contact came.
Six-percent of the contacts came from countries outside of Russia and included: Kazakstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Australia, Latvia, England, Spain, France, Turkey, Canada, and Japan.
Kellye reports "Every one of these folks was interested in being contacted, especially about English clubs. But reading the stories was a holy experience, as time and time again, people were interested in how God is at work in the lives of His people. I have cried some tears of real joy. To God be the glory--great things He has done!!"
Thanks to each of you for the role you played in making this project possible. It has been exciting to see God’s hand at work through this entire project and know that there is much more fruit that will come to bear as a result of the Engage Sochi project.

We're planning to bring another team of performing artists to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics, so make sure you're signed up for our updates so you won't miss the announcement.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

23 Blast

23 Blast opened in theaters October 24, 2014, and it's now available on DVD through Walmart and ChristianBook.com.

Our friend Dylan Baker (actor in Secretariat, Spider-Man 2 and 3) just screened his directorial debut in our building: 23 Blast. It's based on an unbelievable true story. The title comes from a football play two friends have been executing since their pee wee days. When one friend, Travis Freeman, loses his sight he throws God out of his life, but with the help of his family, friends, coach, and a return to the Lord, he excels once again.

Dylan endearingly plays the boy's father. I knew Dylan's wife, Becky Ann Baker (Men in Black, Spider-Man 3, Elementary), was in the film so I was surprised she wasn't playing the mother, until we met her character: the Annie Sullivan to the young man, his mobility coach who refuses to let him stay in his darkness.

There are moments we busted a gut laughing, and tears of sorrow and joy were flowing freely throughout. We watched it across the street from Off-Broadway's Theatre Row. The packed house was respectful of the church scenes, and they laughed hard and clapped long when the credits rolled.

Freeman wrote on his tublr about how bizarre it has been to have a movie made about his life, and his vision for how the film can impact lives:

I hope that this movie opens up many doors for me to be able to share the deeper story of my life.  How I was in spiritual darkness and God brought me into the light.  How I was a sinner destined for a sinners Hell, but God in his mercy rescued me from that fate.  I want people to know that without the hope of living for something greater than myself I would have never accomplished the things I accomplished.  Living for God’s glory and the hope of Heaven gave me the strength to face the many  struggles in my life.  If it had not been for this hope, which came from the grace of God, there would have been no football and then no 23 Blast.
The film won the Audience Award at The Heartland Film Festival, and it opens in theatres October 24 in regions where high school football and church attract large audiences, as well as in NYC and LA.

It had a great article in Variety: Dylan Baker’s Inspirational Drama ’23 Blast’ Set for Oct. 3 Release in 600 Locations.



Christians might also want to know:
* high school drinking
* a high school girl helps a high school boy change shirts and kisses him in a different scene
* football violence
* rated PG-13

That's about it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Choose to Follow Jesus

On a break from our Romans SeriesJoyce preaches on John 1:35-2:11, illuminating three days with Jesus. Bill H. opens with readings from Psalm 101 and Psalm 127 and prayer. Pastoral prayer by Randy Solomon. Closing by Pastor Linda Warren.



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.

WCCC Worship 5/18/14 by RichS on Grooveshark
Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Righteousness by Faith

The ordained take the stage, backing the ordinands at District Assembly.
Joyce preached on Romans 4. Opening by Bill and Liz H. Guitar background by Bill H. Pastoral Prayer and District Assembly report by Pastor Randy Solomon. Closing blessing by Pastor Linda Warren.



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.

Pastor Randy also wanted to share an excerpt from the book Heaven Is for Real for Mother's Day:
A lot of our Catholic friends have asked whether Colton saw Mary, the mother of Jesus. The answer to that is also yes. He saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times, standing beside Jesus. "She still loves him like a mom," Colton said.
The film based on the book is still in the top three at the box office.

Here's the scene from Moms' Night Out we showed after the sermon...


And here's the trailer we intended to show before realizing how much better the scene above fit the message...



You can read my review of Moms' Night Out.

WCCC Worship 5/11/14 by RichS on Grooveshark
 Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad. Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Moms' Night Out


I'm starting this post at 2:49am. I'm just too wired to sleep after seeing a sneak preview of Moms' Night Out!

Not only am I jazzed because it's so well done, but because it's so inspiring! It really makes me want to do my part in getting other films like it into theatres.

Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy, Mad Men, Castle) plays a frazzled mother of three, who can't quite seem to stay on top of her dream job: raising her three adorable children. Her loving husband, played by Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy) urges her to do something for herself, so she arranges, well, a moms' night out with her best friend, played by Logan White (Sarah's Choice, Brother White, Revelation Road), and her pastor's wife, played by Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), who took comedy to an entirely new plane. The night goes hilariously wrong.

And yet the comedy is hilariously right! Some years ago, our friend Jeff Allen invited us to his show at a NYC comedy club. He could have powered a lear jet with the laughs his clean comedy brought that night. It was quite noticeably more appreciated than any of the other comics who were less creative with the English language. Their laugh meters would have been powering lawn mowers in comparison.

I really hope we see a similar response with Moms' Night Out.  This is some seriously funny stuff, and you don't have be concerned about being dragged through the sewer around the next bend. The most vulgar moment is when Patricia Heaton's character texts someone and her autocorrect fills in "p--p." I'm not spelling it out of respect for the memory of my dear grandma who washed my mouth out with soap for saying that word. But if she were around I know she'd love this film!

A lot of the humor comes straight out of those adorable children. The film was cast by Bev Holloway (Beyond the Mask, Like Dandelion Dust, The Ultimate Gift), who has been a MasterClass instructor at MasterWorks. There are some lines the children say that Joyce and I are going to be quoting to each other for weeks!

Kevin Downes (Courageous, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius) produced (The Lost Medallion, Like Dandelion Dust) and also played the best friend of Sean Astin's character. Kevin, Sarah and Sean were all on hand after the screening to answer questions by Joe Battaglia, who ran "Live from The Lamb's" when I was an intern at The Lamb's Church of the Nazarene in the mid-90's.
Kevin shared how they literally watched storms split so that filming could go on. He drove to Sean Astin at about this time of night to hand him the script because that fit with Sean's schedule.

Sean said that because of his friendship with Kevin all he had to do was flip through it to see if there was anything bad in it. Sean commended the film team for mentioning Jesus. He said that we all have to count the cost when you speak the name of Jesus (in reverential tones). He pointed out that it never gets a neutral response. People are either filled with joy, antagonistic or curious.

Sarah, who spoke about her faith on The View, said, "Moms are unsung heroes. They're raising eternal beings." This next part I didn't get down, but she basically said that these eternal beings can grow up to be cynical and focused on themselves or filled with joy and focused on helping others. She said, "Moms need an award. You won't get it from this culture, so here you go!" Not only is the film a reward for moms, it's a gift to everyone who's ever had a mom! This film can help everyone on the planet have a better appreciation for their mother!

I also have to give a shout out to my friend Jason Burkey (October Baby) who performed with me in For the Glory and The Screenwriters. He plays a DJ who brings the bowling alley to life with his jumping tunes, but he was so transformed for the character we didn't know it was him until the credits rolled.

Speaking of the credits, be sure to stay to the end for a very fun scene they said was intended for the main story but had to be cut for time.

We're going back opening weekend, which starts Friday, so we can watch Jason knowing that it's him, and to laugh ourselves silly again! We also want to support its opening weekend, since those are the critical days in the life of a film, and because of what I said at the top about this inspiring more films like it, we want this one to do very well.

Even if you've already figured out your Mother's Day gift, add this to the list. You'll both be so glad you did!


Well, we watched it opening weekend and we loved it just as much. As we walked out, Joyce said, "Well, there were some lines I missed the first time because I was laughing so hard."

Even the Huffington Post posted a great review: Moms' Night Out: A Film for the Family

Christians might also want to know:
* A fictional married couple makes out.
* There are a few acts of violence.
* The word p--p is spelled out on screen.

That's about it!