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Teen makes debut as director in a show of faith

April 12, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Putting together "God of the Empty Tomb" was a large undertaking for any director given its 50-person cast and crew, the range in age of participants spanning almost 50 years and a final scene that includes Jesus Christ rising from the tomb.

It was even more surprising to many that the director who made it possible was making his debut in the role and has yet to complete his junior year of high school.

Josh Jordan, a junior at Williamsport High School, made his directorial debut Saturday in front of a 130-plus person crowd at Valley Assembly of God Christian Life Center on York Road. The production, which includes skits, singing and dancing, focuses on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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On Sunday, just before the second of the pair of shows being performed there, Jordan said the production was an exuberant celebration, though the message was serious.

Jordan said he was able to direct the musical drama because of the congregation's move to the York Road facility within the last year and because of experience he gained in Williamsport High School's show choir.

"I've always wanted to do something like this," Jordan said. "What I learned from Sophisti'Cats and Ruth Ridenour has really helped me give all I had into this."

Jordan, who also leads the church's worship band, said he got the idea to do the musical drama when he was in a Christian bookstore earlier this year, but was unsure if it would come together. He was convinced to do it when he listened to the song "Any Other Way," depicting a battle of words between Judas and Jesus, he said.

"It's just a very powerful number," Jordan said.

The cast rehearsed for the performance three nights a week for about 21/2 months, Jordan said. He said the cast ranges in age from a 2-year-old to congregants in their 40s.

Jordan said it was somewhat stressful directing a large group of adults. Among that group of adults was his father and the church's pastor, Daniel Jordan.

Church and cast member Melinda "Mindy" Lewis said the production created a positive bonding experience for the congregation, especially for members who had not seized the opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of others.

"There's a lot of people in our congregation that have talents you didn't know they had until something like this comes along," Lewis said.

Lewis said she was surprised and impressed that someone as young and as busy as Lewis would "step it up" to make such a show possible.

She joked that Jordan "roughed up" the cast a bit during rehearsals.

"He put mirrors in front of us one day to show us we weren't smiling enough," she said.

"That was fun," Jordan replied with a wide grin.

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