After three long nights of tech/dress rehearsals and two morning shows for school kids, it was finally opening night. The performers were pumped! I was so excited as well since it was my first show on the directing team. We drove into the parking lot at the theater and -boom- all the lights suddenly went out. It was pitch dark. I looked at the theater and could see lights, so I thought it was just the parking lot that had a problem. As we were walking in, we smelled something burning, though. Something was wrong.
As we entered the building, I realized the few lights glowing were just those from the emergency generator. It was 5:45 p.m.; showtime was at 7:00. My kids went backstage to start getting make-up and costumes on. The building staff had located their emergency lanterns. I went to the sound table to get ready and immediately started thinking of backup plans. After all, the show must go on!
We had worked hard to keep this Thursday night performance from being canceled. We usually have 2 weekends of shows, but not this time. We had already canceled the Sunday night show since it would be competing with the Super Bowl. We didn’t want to lose Thursday night, too. Furthermore, we had arranged for a sign language interpreter for the hearing impaired people who would be coming to this performance. Parents and kids had pushed and we soon had 200 patrons waiting in the lobby- in the dark.
No power means no stage lights, no mics, no soundtracks. I checked my phone to make sure I had the right tracks for the show there. I asked our director to ask her husband to bring her awesome speaker which had given us plenty of sound during rehearsals in a gym. There were emergency lights on in the house of the theater and on the front of the stage. We could have all the audience sit really close to the stage and use the multi-directional speaker as both a monitor and speaker for the audience. The kids could just perform close to the front of the stage. A plan was hatched; it could work!
Now, let me tell you a little about Christian Youth Theater. We are not “little kids” theater. CYT Chicago is a state-of-the-art company with the highest class of youth performances. We have great sound equipment including a digital programmable sound board and 24 face mics, incredible lighting effects, fun special effects such as bubbles, haze, fog, and clovers falling from the sky. The costumes, props, and sets couldn’t be any better. But, as I said, the show must go on, and I was willing to do all I could to make it happen.
However, we aren’t in control of everything. Those who owned the theater eventually gave us a deadline. The power had to be on by 7 p.m. or we would have to cancel. They wouldn’t allow patrons into the theater unless there was full power. We also received word that the problem had been located and it was more difficult to fix than originally thought. They didn’t expect it to be fixed until 8 pm. Prayers had already been sent out by kids and parents, but now we all gathered on the stage to pray and seek God in earnest.
Our director and choreographer prayed and you knew the Spirit of God was present. Spotlight’s mission is “Reflecting Christ Through the Performing Arts.” We know that our goal is far bigger than just putting on a show. We want to show our Savior to those who don’t know Him. It’s our desire to be a great witness to the staff at the theater, to the audience, and to the kids and parents. We want to “change eternal destinies,” as our director continually prays. It was 6:50 when we gathered to pray. Time was running out. Despair was in the air; kids were getting depressed. But we turned our focus on God. We worshipped Him. We sought His will. After the prayers we sang “How Great is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art.”
Then the miracle occurred. At exactly 6:59 our assistant director ran over with tears in her eyes and said the power was restored! God showed up and made Himself known. We give Him all the glory. We know exactly why He did it. So that ALL would see Him as the God of provision, the God who saves!
And He wanted the messages of Seussical to be raised high that night:
- A person’s a person no matter how small. All people are created in God’s image and are worth our love, time, protection, and attention.
- Sometimes the right thing is to give your baby up for adoption. And sometimes the right thing is to adopt that baby!
- God wants us to accept ourselves as we are.
I praise the Lord and thank Him for showing up that night (He always does) and for the blessing of Christian Youth Theater Chicago.
(All Photo Credits, but the first and last, to JenniferHeimPhotography.photoreflect.com.)