The Curtain Also Rises

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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"Here they are—our functional family version of a popular sixties' folk-rock vocal group," announced our coworker, Linda.

My castmates Russ and Wendy Hearn, my husband Carey and I—dressed up as the "Mamas and the Papas"—stood behind the theater curtain, ready to entertain the audience with a medley of "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'."

But nothing happened. The audience squirmed, we shrugged, and the curtain remained closed. As Linda struggled to come up with some witty banter about live theater and how mistakes make us seem more human, the four of us looked at one another, mouthing, "What's going on?"

A Great Team Knows How to Improvise

Russ (who's also the show's creative and musical director), and the technical crew scrambled to fix the faulty mechanism preventing the curtain from opening. T.J., another cast member, did a bit of stand-up for the crowd. Then the singers fanned out into the audience and chatted with our fans, while the concession and box office employees offered free coffee and cookies.

It was just another day at the office for Rockbox Theater, a professional Christian-owned music theater in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Rehearsing and performing with T.J., Linda, Russ, Wendy, and our bandmates—Mark, Cass, and Jacob—is never boring . . . and always rewarding. As Christians and coworkers (most of us have been together for over a decade), we thank God every day that we have jobs we love, with people we actually like. It's especially unusual to find people with small egos, servant spirits, and laidback attitudes in the entertainment business.

God has truly given us a unique situation. We've all put in time on the road as touring musicians, and being able to tuck our kids in at night is no small gift. So is the fact that we truly are a team, and we're each others' biggest fans.

Teams Celebrate Together . . . and Suffer Together

That team mentality comes in handy when curtains break—or when tragedies happen. Three years ago, one of our partners in a previous theater was killed in a motorcycle wreck on his way to Fredericksburg to scout a new location for us. Tom was a friend, mentor, and father figure.

His death left a gaping hole in our hearts and the organization. And it made us question whether we should go ahead with plans to relocate our families to the hill country. A lot of sleepless nights and worn-out knees followed Tom's untimely death, as did spiritual growth and a new maturity.

As we all listened to God's guidance, separately and corporately, we forged a new bond of friendship and unity. No more were we kids playing at jobs too fun to be considered work.

Now, we had adult decisions to make: selling homes, training cast members (some of the entertainers from our previous theater were unable to move with us), finding new residences, enrolling our children in new schools, and keeping our sense(s) of humor and sanity intact.

It wasn't easy . . . and it still isn't. But God affirmed our move every step of the way, and Rockbox Theater is now thriving. The community has overwhelmed us with support and enthusiasm, and with God's help, we've found new friends, churches, schools, and fans that bless us way more than we could ever hope to bless them.

Our workplace isn't perfect, but we're growing in Christ, and each week when the curtain rises (hopefully!), we pray that God will allow us to release His joy to the people sitting in the seats, who've carved time out of their schedules and pocketbooks to support us.

And we continue to be amazed that we get paid to have this much fun.

Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:

  • Reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:12: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
  • Who do you defend? Who are two people that you can rely on in tough times?
  • How healthy is the team you work with? What can you change about your actions or attitudes to help those teams function better this week?