Watch Faith in 3D To Whom It May Concern after worship June 5.
Is there a God? Does anything make sense? What is worship all about?
These are some of the questions raised by To Whom It May Concern: A Musical Celebration, the Off-Broadway play adapted by Wilshire for its 2022 Faith in 3D video production.
In the show, which was filmed in McIver Chapel with a cast of about two dozen Wilshire members, we hear the inner thoughts of ordinary people sitting in a church service. The characters express their secrets, guilts, hopes and joys through monologue and song.
In the words of playwright Carol Hall, the musical “is about communion, which the dictionary first defines not as ‘a rite,’ but as ‘the act of sharing,’ and which in the play takes place between the actors and the audience.” Faith in 3D Director Nancy Poynter calls the work “a celebration of worship.”
Many of the characters are based on real people the author knew growing up in Texas. “I think if we’re honest with ourselves, they’ll seem familiar to us,” Nancy says. “Maybe we’ll see our own story.” In fact, Wilshire was given permission by the publisher to include two stories specific to Wilshire — one from a blog post by Kristi Walters, and the other based on the story of the late Jan Cureton.
Wilshire began presenting live theater productions under the Faith in 3D name in 2015. Past shows include adaptations of Amadeus, Inherit the Wind and Pompeii, a vaudeville-style musical about climate change. In 2021, Faith in 3D adapted to COVID-19 with a production of Anthony Clarvoe’s The Living created entirely over Zoom.
The Faith in 3D team opted for video again this year due to uncertainty about the pandemic. “These shows take months to prepare for,” Nancy explains, “and last summer when we started planning, we didn’t know what would happen with the pandemic.”
That decision paved the way for Faith in 3D to tackle To Whom It May Concern. The musical had been on Nancy’s radar for years, but was deemed too logistically challenging to present live. As a filmed production, it was doable.
Jim Tapley and David Hammons handled the shooting and editing, and Ralph Manuel served as musical director. “These guys know what they’re doing,” Nancy says, “and I think it’s going to show.”
Playwright Carol Hall (1936–2018) is best known for writing the music and lyrics for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the 1978 Broadway show that became a hit movie in 1982.
Hall was born in Abilene and moved with her mother, a music teacher, to Dallas at age 3. She attended Hockaday School and graduated from Highland Park High School before leaving for the east coast, where she attended college and built a career in music and theater.
Hall’s song, “Jenny Rebecca,” which appears in To Whom It May Concern, was recorded by Barbra Streisand in 1965. Hall recorded two albums as a singer-songwriter in the early 70s, contributed songs to the pioneering 1972 children’s album Free to Be … You and Me and composed songs for TV’s Sesame Street.
To Whom It May Concern was first produced in 1985 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Later that year it was staged at St. Stephens Church in New York City. The New York Times called it “a Christian musical for secular humanists,” and an Associated Press reviewer praised the show’s “melodic score and joyous communal spirit.”
How to watch
Screening with free lunch
Head down after worship on Sunday, June 5, to watch the show on the big screen in Community Hall. A free box lunch will be provided, and childcare is available. The video will start at 12:30 p.m. No reservation needed.
The show will be shown online three times:
- Sunday, June 5, 12:30 p.m.
- Friday, June 10, 8 p.m.
- Saturday, June 11, 8 p.m.
Due to our contract with the publisher, the video will only be available at these times and will require a password. To request the password and video link, fill out this form: https://form.jotform.com/221305516922146.