Friday, August 28, 2009

Slideshow of Musical Rehearsal Pictures

This is the slideshow that played after the musical presentation. Many thanks to Christina Baggett for taking all of the wonderful cast and rehearsal pictures!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Story of The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover in Pictures

An album of pictures from the dress rehearsals of "The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover" has been created. You can view them by going here. The pictures are in chronological order and give some of the story line through the captions.

"The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover" was a wonderful musical to produce. It was full of fun, excitement, and excellent themes that glorified God. Everyone who was a part of it - actors from the age of 5 to 58 - really enjoyed working on it! It was fun to see how everything turned out, from the inspiration God gave me to trying to bring those images in my mind out in the actors on stage.

I didn't follow the production notes exactly as they were suggested. I used Biblical costuming and settings instead of the modern ones suggested, and I slightly altered and added a few lines. If you are interested in doing it and would like to hear specific ideas I had, feel free to contact me.

If you are looking for a fun musical for all ages, this one with the powerful story of Nehemiah is a great one to try! Your cast will have a great time, and the audience will really enjoy it. We had some people who even came all three nights because they liked it so much!

You can get more info about the musical here at Brentwood Benson. I was able to find and order the books and CDs from MusiChristian for a less expensive price, but their shipping took quite a while, so it was a good thing I ordered things early.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cast pictures from The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover

These pictures have been long in coming, but there has been a lot going on since the musical ended, and I just needed a break from musical things for a while. =)

Enjoy this slideshow that introduces the characters in our production of "The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover." It played at the beginning of each musical presentation, but I modified it slightly for this upload.

Each of the actors and actresses did a great job!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

God is so faithful!

Last night was a great opening night for "The Amazing Jerusalem Makeover." Many people came, and they all seemed to enjoy the musical a lot!

It has been an extremely busy production schedule, and last Tuesday, after the first dress rehearsal, I was a bit discouraged. Things just didn't seem to be coming together. I spent that night and the next day continuing to plan, but also praying. "God, it's in Your hands. I've done all I can; I've worked hard for Your glory. The outcome is up to You. Use it as You will."

I've struggled to trust through this production. It's easy for me to get down on myself, and I've realized that I do have some perfectionistic tendencies. Yet, I remembered what God did with the last 4 musicals I've directed, and, through some struggles and moments of woe, I have trusted Him to do it again. And He has been so faithful!

We went through the musical twice at Thursday's dress rehearsal, since it is only around 45 minutes in length going straight through. The cast did well the first time, and things went pretty smoothly, but they weren't really alive in their acting. I gave notes and encouraged, and the 2nd time through was a whole lot better. They really acted, and everything flowed well!

Last night was just as good. Sure, there were a few instances of nervous mess-ups, but they were all very minor. The cast acted really well, putting even more into it now that they had an audience.

I sat and watched and marveled at the faithfulness of God. He's done it again. He's brought together a musical that I could have never done in my own strength. He's given grace, and He even gave me wonderful rest last night after some trouble getting to sleep these last few weeks with all of the details in my head.

I look forward to these next two nights of presentations, excited to see what God will do again. Praise be to His glorious Name!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time is getting short

There always comes a point in each musical when I wonder if things will really come together. This time around, it's happened a few times. I've learned from it - that I really should have more than a month for a production, for sanity's sake - but I'm also reminded of past productions, that things do come together by God's grace.

Things were a little rough at our first dress rehearsal tonight. There's still so much I wish could be corrected. We'll have Thursday to go over the final things, but things should be done by then.

It's easy to beat myself up, to say that I really could have done more, or should be able to explain things better. But, I have worked as hard as I could in God's strength, and God has allowed a lot to be done. Looking back from where we started, there have been definite improvements! =)

Also, I am working with children, so things will never be exactly right. I can't expect a 7-year-old to act like a 17-year-old. But, we're all in it together, and that is part of the beauty of the experience: generations working together for God's glory.

I also only have 2-3 rehearsals a week, whereas most places rehearse every night. But, I don't want to pull families away from home more than we already do, so we just have to work through the limited number of practices that we have.

It's not a perfect production, but I'm learning through it. I still pray that God pulls everything together in His time, but even it isn't flawless (and it never will be!), God can still use it. It's not to excuse us from working as hard as we can towards excellence, but in the end, we've got to leave things to God.

There's not much else I can do. I can remind people of their assignments, I can encourage, but most of all, I can pray. And as I continue working, I can rest in the knowledge that the outcome is in God's hands.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just Ask!

We wanted to spread the word as much as possible about the upcoming musical, because part of why we are doing it is to provide good, family-friendly and God-honoring entertainment for the community.

A family friend, my assistant director and dad to 4 of the actors (and an actor himself!), made a great flier that we have been hanging up in color and distributing in black-and-white, printed on yellow paper.

When I was out shopping yesterday for final items needed for the musical, I brought fliers with me and asked if one could be hung up in each place that I stopped. Only one turned me down because of a policy they had, while the other three - my bank, a Faith Rescue Mission store, and "Cheapskates," where I bought the jewelry I needed at a great price - kindly agreed.

Although I was nervous about asking when it was of no benefit to them to hang up a poster, it was encouraging to see their willingness. And, asking really isn't that scary. After all, it never hurts to ask!

Costume Construction

With a musical involving 36 actors, some of whom play more than one character, finding/making enough costumes for them can be quite the challenge! At first, I thought I would be able to borrow most of the costumes from a friend, but when she couldn't find where they had been stored, suddenly I had to plan to make most of the tunics - quite a feat when you only have a total of a month for the production!

Because fabric prices have risen quite high, I went to thrift stores and bought used sheets and curtains for $1-$2 each - a great deal for the fabric, since each sheet contained at least 3 yards of material. Another 10 tunics, plus a few sashes, and head coverings we were able to make out of leftover fabric that I had in my stash.

There were a few things already made for us to borrow (a few tunics, and the black dresses for the bad girls), and a few others to alter or mend.

I cut out the tunics using the measurements I'd taken of the actors, making up a simple formula of determining various widths and lengths. God brought some great ladies along to help sew/alter the costumes, and by God's grace we got almost everything made in a week! I still have a few things to alter after the final costume fittings this morning, and two more costumes to make for actors recently added to the program.

On Wednesday, July 22nd, I sorted the costumes and fabric that I had and determined what I had left to buy. The next day, I bought things that I needed and some trim and jewelery to add to the overall affect. Miriam Rebekah came over, and we determined what each actor would wear, along with my sister's help.

On Friday, I babysat the younger children of a family in the musical, and during their nap time, their oldest daughter Natalie helped me with the first costumes. I cut out her tunic to test the formula, she sewed it up, and we worked on from there.

After her parents came home, Natalie came home with me, and we worked late into the evening. I cut out tunics, my sister Jubilee serged the edges, and Natalie sewed the seams.

The Serger has proved to be one of the best and most useful tools! Because of it, we didn't have to hem any of the raw edges, for the serging finished them nicely and the black or white thread blended in nicely with the various costumes.

Each area in which we worked turned into a major mess, but it was a good feeling once everything was completed and cleaned up.

The next day, Saturday, we had a work day at church after the morning rehearsal. While many painted bricks and others worked on some props, quite a few helped out with costumes. Natalie again sewed the seams, Jubilee did the serging, a few helped cut out, another sewed by hand, and others ironed or helped organize the completed costumes. A few of us worked for over 4 hours, but we got a lot done!

The Hart ladies worked on altering a few costumes at their house, while I continued to sew a few things over the weekend. Last Tuesday, Natalie and her younger sisters met Jubilee and I at the church building, along with another friend/actress. We worked for almost 5 hours and all but completed the costumes that we needed.

Abigail helped out with small tasks, such as many serged ends that needed fray check applied, and Katherine also helped with that, as well as creatively making and decorating a crown and throne. They both each made a Persian boy's hat under my instructions.

We completed the costumes more quickly than I could have hoped, and it's definitely a relief to have them all but done as we head to our first dress rehearsal this Tuesday!