|Katie Majors, right, and friend Erin Schroeder are cast members.|
Liberty University students have many unique opportunities to give their time and talent to the local community. This year, about 100 students have joined the cast and crew of the Virginia Christmas Spectacular, an annual Broadway-style production presented by the Worship Ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Originally called the Living Christmas Tree, the show has been a Central Virginia tradition for 40 years, drawing crowds of more than 40,000.
The show is currently going into its second weekend (there are eight public performances) and kicked off Dec. 1 with a performance exclusively for Liberty students.
Katie Majors, a graduate assistant with Liberty’s Center for Worship, is in five musical numbers.
“I make clothing changes for each; one is 30 seconds — it’s pretty frantic,” she said.
Majors, originally from Orange County, Calif., said this is her first time in the show and she welcomed the opportunity to serve God in theater. She said she has been impressed with the quality of the show and as a Worship and Music Studies graduate, she feels privileged to have the experience.
“It is high quality — the small details that go into it are much greater than I thought.” she said. “I’ve been very impressed. It feels like you’re doing a Broadway musical.”
Liberty students are used in all aspects of the production, from acting, singing and dancing, to costuming, backstage, decorating, props, orchestra and multimedia.
The theme of this year’s show is “A Thomas Road Christmas Carol” and features the tale of Ebenezer Scruggs and the wild ride he takes in his living room recliner to Christmases past, present and future as he searches for truth. The show boasts 500,000 lights, an original musical score, live orchestra, and cast and choir of more than 350.
Freshman Rachel Osterhus, a Theatre Arts Performance major and cast member, said she loves being part of a show with such a powerful message.
“I believe that theater is such a powerful witnessing tool and can touch peoples’ hearts in a way that nothing else can,” she said. “It is such a blessing to be able to worship the Lord through dancing and performing on stage, and to be a part of something that so clearly proclaims the Gospel.”
The show is a big commitment for students, with a fast-paced schedule of practices that start in September.
But Osterhus said the hard work is well worth it.
“It is a wonderful outlet for creativity and a place to build community in a new setting. It’s been such a fun and refreshing outlet for me to grow and be encouraged by the wonderful directors, leaders, and fellow cast members involved in the production.”