This past Wednesday, I made a quick trip to Athens, Georgia – home of the University of Georgia, legendary rock band REM, and Cornerstone Productions.
Who, or what is Cornerstone Productions, you ask?
Cornerstone Productions is an independent faith-based community theater company, founded by the husband & wife team of Justin and Sharon Carter. The Carters are Liberty University graduates, who returned to Sharon’s hometown of Athens. For the past several years, they have mounted family-friendly theater shows for the Athen area. Their efforts are the very definition of a “labor of love.” They raise all the funds needed for the productions from donor gifts and ticket sales. They pay themselves nothing. They recruit talented actors, singers, dancers and musicians from the area to participate. They rehearse for months in order to present a four-show run in the the historic Morton Theater, in downtown Athens. I suspect greasepaint may flow through Justin and Sharon’s veins.
This year, the Cornerstone troupe was already in rehearsal for the original version of “The Christmas Post” when they learned about the new material Deborah Craig-Claar and I wrote for the show. (See my earlier post.) After a brief email exchange, it was arranged for them to add the new songs and script changes to their production.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night, when I was privileged to attend the opening night of the new-and-improved “Christmas Post” in Athens. Despite some standard opening night jitters, the performance was enthusiastic and fun. Justin Carter (as Elliot Herzog) and Daniel Fowler (as Maxwell Seldon) were standouts in an overall fine performance. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show.
The cast and crew will be back for another performance tonight (Friday) and two more on Saturday. Ticket sales have been brisk. Only a few remaining seats were available. From what I saw, the Athens audiences will not be disappointed.
So – kudos to all involved in the production, particularly Sharon and Justin. Also, thanks for your hospitality on my visit there. Merry Christmas to you all.
(This weekend, I’m headed to Detroit to see Brightmoor Christian Church’s production of the new “Christmas Post.” So come back soon for Part 2 of this post.)