The first meeting was Sunday afternoon, February 12. The wrap party ended late Saturday night, April 15. During those nine weeks, friendships were formed, 200 or so team members gave what they had and—by God’s hand—over 3,100 lives were changed. To produce The Crown, the story of Jesus’ life through the eyes of a child, each person had to bring passion to their role. And as we experienced over and again the key events that define Christianity, The Crown stoked our passion and faith.
In early February, Pastor Bill Walton of New Life Kids was thinking through the church’s upcoming “Thorn season” where New Life would have an audience of 50,000 for its extravagantly produced passion play. Yet he saw an audience missing in the strategy: 1st thru 5th graders, who were too young for The Thorn’s sometimes-violent images. He began to dream big about a kids’ play.
As Pastor Bill had a few members of The Furnace on his team already, he soon called our leader David about a partnership. Days later David announced at the Furnace gathering that The Crown would count as part of our prayer meeting commitment – and I was in (not that I’d had too much prayer… this just sounded like an opportunity God would use to answer some of those prayers.)
The first part of rehearsals actually resembled Furnace meetings: music playing, corporate prayers to God led on the mic, worshipers pacing (which looked a little funny once we got costumes: scary demons lifting their hands, Pharisees praying over the chairs where the audience would be watching.) Everyone connected to The Crown hit it off right away, especially within the teams.
For instance: on Sunday nights, we 12 disciples had less than an hour to eat between rehearsals and the evening service (a Furnace requirement, and all but two of us are Furnace guys—we’re working on them.) Thus, if you were in the parking lot those days, you would notice two packed cars racing to Fazoli’s or Chipotle – and racing back. I won once.
There was the costumes team, who impressed with how quickly they could get everyone’s measurements without stopping the flow of rehearsals, then have finely-stitched robes ready within hours. The three lead actors had to continually adjust to script changes that came a lot that first month. Some of the hardest work fell to Jordan and the team directors: creating scenes from scratch for a production in its first year, which they spent every minute doing.