EDMOND—More than 100 Philadelphia Church of God cast and crew members are preparing for the December 29 debut of music director Ryan Malone’s newest musical, The Widow’s Might, which will show at Armstrong Auditorium. Beginning with a rehearsal on November 1, the musical’s chorus groups are focusing on the blocking and staging elements of the show.
Based on the book of Ruth, the project began in February, with Mr. Malone and Pastor General Gerald Flurry exploring which biblical account to portray in the Church’s next musical production.
“He thought, since he was going to be getting into some deeper understanding on this book of the Bible, that it would be timely to make this the next musical,” Mr. Malone said.
Since August, 15 Irish dancers from the Maguire Academy have spent 21/2 hours every week rehearsing for the six dance numbers in the show. Choreographer and instructor Paris Turgeon says the group has dedicated an estimated 30 hours to the finale alone.
Also starting in August, the crew of about a dozen pcg members began creating sets, props, lighting-design and costumes, while the main choruses rehearse weekly and bi-weekly. The musical features three main choruses: townspeople, gleaners and Boaz’s servants. Outside of the two hours of rehearsal time every week, each chorus member is expected to practice on his or her own.
Before the Feast of Tabernacles in mid-October, the choruses focused on learning parts, diction and blending together, while recording engineer Ken Sarkey spent 23 hours recording the orchestra. After the orchestral accompaniment was complete, Sarkey spent another seven hours recording the three choruses, as well as small solo parts. Mr. Malone hopes to make the audio for the musical available on all major digital outlets.
After the Feast, the choruses have focused mostly on blocking, staging and choreography.
“It’s a great opportunity for a group effort, with all the choirs and such,” Mr. Malone said. “That makes what happens to the lead characters quite special and intimate, and it gives the audience a chance to connect to some universal emotions and circumstances in this account.”
The lead roles of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz are played by Herbert W. Armstrong College voice instructor Paula Malone, sophomore Jessica Brandon and instructor Mark Jenkins, respectively.
“It’s easy to look at this book of the Bible and say it’s about Ruth, because of how it’s been titled. But the story is just as much about Naomi, if not more,” Mr. Malone said. “Boaz himself was probably widowed as well, so he ties into the main theme of the story. And that theme, or that overall message, is that God takes care of His widows. He is the might and strength of the widow. He provides what they need—whether it’s in the field or in the home—whether it’s financial or spiritual.”