The small-church production was hilarious – they did the whole show with a cast of about 15 – the 12 “sons” of Jacob, wearing union suits and cowboy boots, would dash off-stage to change costumes and return (carrying the scenery with them) as other characters. It was simple, but completely enjoyable.
The Orpheum production, a traveling Broadway show (not the one with Donny Osmond!), was as spectacular as the San Diego show was simple: fabulous sets, fabulous costuming, fabulous talent.
I knew St. John’s UMC has lot of talent – they have a choir that rivals the Memphis Symphony Chorus, and there are a lot of other artistic people among the congregation. And at $15 per ticket, I had high expectations.
So we took the kids.
Now, since there might be some St. John’s folks who still read my blog – the former pastor had linked to “Banana Winds” on his own blog and I picked up some readership there – I will try to be as nice as I can be here.
It was a good “effort”. But had I not been familiar with the production (in addition to the Biblical story) I would have been completely confused.
Most of the problem was technical. The opening solo by the narrator was completely lost because her microphone was not working. Two of my favorite musical numbers – “One More Angel in Heaven” and “Those Canaan Days” – were also lost because the soloists were not miked and the floor mikes did not pick them up.
Other problems should have been ironed out in rehearsal. In the Elvis / Pharaoh scene, the narrator and Pharaoh didn’t seem to be clear on who’s turn it was to sing. (And in Memphis, that scene should have “rocked”!)
But, as I said, it was a good effort, and I hope they will learn from this experience and try again.
But the performance itself is not what this blog is about. Among my group was a 5-year-old whom I will call “K”. When her family arrived at Asbury about a year ago, “K” immediately latched on to me. In her eyes, I am a rock star.
I used to assure folks that God has a sense of humor: when I was in Jr. High School I used to pray to God for a girlfriend; in college, when I became a youth director, I was suddenly beset with Jr. High-aged “girlfriends”. It seems that God is still laughing, because my current following is the 4-6 year-old crowd!
At the performance of “Joseph”, “K” first sat with her mother. But she couldn’t see much of the stage because of the tall man sitting in front of her. Eventually she gave up and laid her head on her mother’s lap.
After intermission, “K” decided to come across the aisle and sit between Karen and me. Being on the end of the aisle, the view was much better.
After a short time, “K” complained that she was cold; the temperature level of the air conditioner was apparently set by the actors and we were in the direct path of the Polar Express. I wrapped my arm around her and we continued to watch the show.
Then I noticed Her head starting to nod. Bob… bob… bob… So I gently pushed her head toward my shoulder, indicating it was okay to lean against me. “K” sweetly folded her hands under her cheek, leaned into my chest, and promptly went to sleep.
Some of you with children of your own may take moments like this for granted; shame on you. Others may be screaming, “What about ‘Safe Sanctuary’ policies?”; shame on you, too.
For me, it was a sacred moment. I didn’t move – even through the standing ovation – wanting that moment to last as long as possible.