“You need to get our of your comfort zone” is a phrase the popular culture tosses out there, as if being comfortable in your life and circumstances is somehow a bad thing. Speaking as a guy who lives so far out of his comfort zone that it could explode and I wouldn’t even hear the noise, I’m saying a little time back there sounds pretty good.
There are two shows at Ragtown, as you know. One happens in front of the curtain, and the other is behind it. Since I began performing concerts, my territory has been in front of the curtain, and my brother Glenn’s is behind it.
All that changes this year in BETHLEHEM.
The the past two Christmases we staged SAY NICKLAUS. I love that one, and it seems that most people did. I’ll miss it this year, and I’m sad because I know most of those beautiful children will be too old to be the Elliffe’s kids next time around. But, I am really excited about seeing BETHLEHEM again. We have had so many people tell us that it opened their eyes to things they had never considered, telling a story of Christ’s birth that begins at Creation. I agree that it is a very meaningful message that everyone needs hold onto all year long.
When we bring a show back to the stage at Ragtown, we try to do some different things to make each production special. Usually that involves changes in the staging and the set. This year the BETHLEHEM staging is going to be altogether different. We’ve been busy building mountains and pathways. It looks a little like a great wooden roller-coaster right now, but by the time we open on November 1st, it will be a wonder. But the set isn’t the only big change.
Glenn Polk will direct, of course, and portray God the Father. I am happy to report that he found Jesus! Gabriel Ramirez, who did such a great job as Jesus in several of our productions, is now Dr. Ramirez and loves and works in Wisconsin. Finding someone who could portray the Savior…and sing…was an opportunity to exercise faith. God came through with a wonderful young man that I’ll be introducing to you in the next installment.
And then there was the role of Satan.
I was the kid who made a cape out of a cup towel and jumped off the roof expecting to fly. You would have thought that first lesson would have been enough, but the truth is…for just a moment, it DID feel like flying. Toward the end of GETHSEMANE I called up Glenn one morning and told him that I’d been thinking about a way to make this new production of BETHLEHEM different. And there I went…right off the shingles.
It has been a very interesting and enlightening experience thusfar, and I will continue to update you as rehearsals begin. Giving my older brother the opportunity to tell me what to do is the most troubling part of it. That and portraying evil incarnate.
In the meantime, start gathering your family and friends and make your ticket reservation. You know how crazy the holidays get as Christmas gets closer, so plan to come early. BETHLEHEM begins November 1st and will run through December 20th. We already have Sunday School classes and groups calling, so choose a date right away.
I’ll keep you posted on how rehearsals are going, and we plan to post some interviews with cast members that I think you’ll enjoy.