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Singers, actors invited to audition for traveling Passion pla
archived from: 2014-02-07
by: Rita McConnell

Performances are set to begin March 21 for the Lenten season

There have been many casting calls in Pittsburgh lately due to the area’s popularity with the motion picture industry. But none have offered all Catholics in the Diocese of Pittsburgh the opportunity to star in the greatest story ever told.

Bob Summers, pastoral associate at St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Center Township, is seeking actors to audition for roles in “Make Us Believers,” a Passion play to be performed at Catholic churches in the area during the 2014 Lenten season.

“We’re putting together a traveling cast, and would love to have more Pittsburgh-area Catholics join us in this ministry,” Summers said. “The play is a Lenten offering. It’s a lot of work and can be difficult, but we enjoy watching people come alive in Christ.”

Summers wrote and composed the musical production earlier in his career while working with a youth group in Atlanta. He was inspired to develop “Make Us Believers” through his own journey as a Catholic and his relationship with contemporary Christian musician Paul Tate, who was a member at his church at the time. It was first performed in 1995 at St. Benedict Parish in Atlanta.

“I really didn’t know how people would react,” Summers said. “It was really well received. One man who attended a performance carved a life-size cross for me. I knew I was on to something.”

Summers, who was raised in St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford, returned to his native Pittsburgh in 1999, where he continued in youth and parish ministry.

“Make Us Believers” became a significant part of his work sharing God’s message. He expanded the production in 2001 and again in 2003 to include new original music. It has been performed locally for more than a decade at churches such as St. Alphonsus, St. Benedict the Abbot in Peters Township, Holy Trinity in Robinson, St. Margaret Mary in Moon Township, Church of the Beloved Disciple in Grove City and St. Francis Cabrini.

The cast will perform at eight parishes in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio during Lent. Auditions will take place Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis Cabrini, 115 Trinity Drive in Aliquippa. Summers invites those interested in auditioning or staging the play to contact him at St. Francis Cabrini, 724-775-6363.

“Any parish can present this play,” Summers said. “Usually, our cast is invited in to perform, and once we have, parishes are excited to take ‘Make Us Believers’ and put it on themselves with a cast and crew from among their parishioners.”

New for 2014 is that Summers, Tate and contemporary Christian artist Lee Roessler, along with Pittsburgh-area talent, including Taylor Bianco, Andy Armutat, Ed Fraticelli and Jessica Sellman, made a studio recording of the music from “Make Us Believers” that will be available for download on iTunes and on CD March 10.

Times and locations for 2014 “Make Us Believers” performances are:

• Friday, March 21, 7 p.m., St. Therese of Lisieux, Munhall.

• Saturday, March 29, 7 p.m., St. Thomas, Corry, Pa. (Diocese of Erie).

• Wednesday, April 9, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, Aurora, Ohio (Diocese of Cleveland).

• Friday, April 11, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Peace, Conway.

• Friday, April 11, 7:30 p.m., St. Alphonsus, Wexford.

• Saturday, April 12, 7 p.m., St. Alphonsus, Wexford.

• Sunday, April 13, 4 p.m., St. Cecelia, Rochester.

• Tuesday, April 15, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima, Hopewell Township.

• Friday, April 18, 7 p.m. St. Francis Cabrini, Center Township.

A $5 donation is requested at the door. The “Make Us Believers” CD recording will be available for purchase before and after each performance.




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