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Easter musical dramas in Virginia Beach

Stephanie Empson
Stephanie EmpsonPhoto courtesy of Syephanie Empson, used with permission

If you missed the opening weekend of the Kempsville Christian Church’s lavish production of Lift Him Up, you have three opportunities Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The musical drama tells the story of Jesus Christ, beginning with creation and ending with his ascension into heaven.

Lift Him Up
Lift Him UpK Applebee

The cast and crew numbers over 150 and includes three generations of the Bachus-Empson clan, all first timers to the production. Grandmother Shirley Backus and daughter Val work behind the scenes with costumes while Shirley’s husband Dave is part of the chorus. But keep an ear out for Stephanie, the youngest, whose solos have been described as fabulous.

“That girl can sing,” enthuses Steve Ely, a veteran performer and choir member. “She’s very good.” Good enough to rate a music scholarship at Mid-Atlantic Christian University where she’s a junior majoring in business.

“I have never been in a production like this, but I've seen the play before and I have always thought it was amazing,” says Stephanie. She describes the difference between preforming for her American Idol auditions and Lift Him Up.

“It is so, so different… two different worlds. I have much more passion in my heart for songs about Christ. I feel them in my heart when I sing,” she confides. “The songs (O the Blood and Your Blood Ran Down) capture the scenes and tell the story of Christ shedding His blood for all who are unworthy. Yet because of that shed blood, we become worthy in Him.”

Shows start at 7:00 PM but arriving at 6:30 at the 5424 Parliament Dr., Virginia Beach location is recommended. No tickets are required and admission is free. Consult the church website for directions or call 490-3925

The United Methodist Church at 1072 Old Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach is presenting a one night only living dramatization of Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper. The presentation is an hour of drama, music and worship starting at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Call 495-1021 or 495-1021 for more information.