Lift Him Up, the 2014 musical drama presented by the Kempsville Christian Church opened Saturday night to a packed house. The attendance for both weekend shows topped 1000 and included audience members from as far away as Michigan, according to usher Swanie Morris
“Anyone coming Easter weekend should plan to arrive not later 6:30 PM,” advises Mark Price who has been greeting and ushering for more than a decade. A record crowd of 553 filled every seat. “We had to turn some folks away.”
Although the episodes included change from year to year, Lift Him Up chronicles the life of Jesus Christ in music and dialogue. One change for the 2014 passion play includes a three story set that presents challenges for not only for the backstage crew but also the actors who ascend and descend narrow walk ways in the dark wearing period costume.
“Balancing our vision of who we are doing this for and keeping the 100 plus actors safe while moving fog machines, unwieldy set pieces weighing hundreds of pounds and keeping track of dozens of hand props is a challenge,” says Shane Arnold, a veteran backstage hand. “You have to set the scenes up in seconds and keep your human emotions in check.”
Another change is the focus on Jesus’ twelve disciples. Judas, Peter and John provide their perspectives on Jesus, his ministry and his mission.
“This year’s performance includes things about where the disciples went after Jesus ascended into heaven and how they died,” shares Janie Arnold. “I thought it was absolutely fabulous, the best they’ve ever done.”
Three more shows on Good Friday, April 18th, Saturday the 19th, and Easter Sunday, the 20th, are free and open to the public. The curtain rises at 7:00 PM, but attendees are encouraged to come as early as 6:00 PM for preferred seating.