A taste of Broadway theater is coming to Savannah audiences each Sunday in October, packaged with a deeper message for those tuning in.
It’s all part of the revered "God on Broadway" performance series from Asbury Memorial Church. Since 2005, the congregation has performed songs and scenes from some of Broadway’s biggest musicals, tied together with a tailored sermon each week to accompany the show.
This year, however, the COVID-19 outbreak had other plans, and the church was forced to adapt their popular series to a new format.
"Our congregation looks forward to this series every year as it provides a special opportunity to share biblical teachings and God’s love in a unique way," shared Rev. Billy Hester.
The idea began out of Rev. Hester and wife Cheri’s love for New York’s famed district, known as Broadway. The pair have acting experience from both on and off Broadway, and say they love using their talents from their former careers to enhance the worship experience.
The specialized worship services combine Sunday sermons and liturgy with the themes and music from a different Broadway show each week.
Through the years, the series has become a favorite among churchgoers, and personifies the attitude of Asbury Memorial Church, which bills itself as a forward-thinking, all-inclusive congregation.
The online worship services begin at 11:15 a.m. each Sunday in October and will kick-off Oct. 4 with "The Phantom of the Opera," followed by "A Chorus Line" on Oct. 11. God on Broadway will continue Oct. 18 with "Shrek The Musical" and conclude on Oct. 25 with "Les Misérables."
Church officials say these virtual services will combine fresh sermons and guest characters, combined with footage of the Asbury Memorial Choir, performing under the direction of the congregation’s Minister of Music, Ray Ellis, who oversaw music for past "God on Broadway" services.
The "God on Broadway" series is free and open to the public and can be viewed through the Asbury Memorial Church website from the socially-distant safety of home.
Church officials say they hope viewers will enjoy the show and hopefully, take away a deeper message each Sunday.
"Even though this year’s series will be presented virtually, we are excited to share God’s message through song and theatre," Rev. Hester added.