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Actors serve God on the save

December 05, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Nina Geiger wants to serve God, even if it means dressing up with a bunch of fruit on the top of her head like 1940s movie actress Carmen Miranda.

"I'm Olivia Orange and about six other characters," Geiger said with a laugh Thursday night.

Covenant Baptist Church will be turned into a playhouse tonight through Sunday for a Christian play, "I'll Be Home for Christmas." The show starts each night at 7 p.m.

The play begins on Thanksgiving Day 1941. At the front of the stage is a family's living room.

While the family gathers to listen to the radio broadcasts, other members of the cast play radio actors and announcers performing their shows and news broadcasts that are heard over the radio.


A large choir directly behind the living room set also performs the music heard over the radio.

The radio becomes their main source for news as World War II breaks out with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, said director Gary Shepard.

"The play demonstrates their faith in God and how in a tough crisis he sustained them," Shepard said.

Geiger, of Waynesboro, Pa., is playing an actress in many of the radio programs like "The Green Hornet" and "The Shadow."

Like the radio show performers of old, she has to perform many different parts.

The church has held several stage productions this year, including a salute to U.S. veterans and a morality play about heaven and hell, which drew more than 2,000 people over five performances, but still had to turn away several hundred because of a lack of seating, church officials said. Those interested in attending this weekend's performances are advised to show up at least 30 minutes before show time.

"We do them because they seem like opportunities for someone who has never been in church or who hasn't been in church for a long time to be brought in," said Ken Oyerly, programming and music director for the church.

"We're just trying to get the biblical message across any way we can. God's blessed us with a lot of talented people," Oyerly said.

Covenant Baptist has a congregation of about 900, which increases to about 1,300 around Easter, he said.

The church is unusual, Oyerly said. Sermons can include multimedia presentations to help get the message across. A video shot by church members can be shown on a screen while the choir performs, he said.

"God's not stagnant or boring so we shouldn't be either," Oyerly said.

Geiger said she started attending the church about nine months ago, even though it is about an hour long trip.

"It's worth the drive," Geiger said.

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