The Akron Civic Theater (Akron, Ohio) hosted “The Bible Live” Saturday, January 26. Conceived, adapted, and produced by Minister Tyron Hoisten, a troupe of twenty-six local Christians read fourteen well-known passages from the Bible. Music and sound effects created a dramatic backdrop as various groupings of the reciters presented stories such as “The Creation of Man,” “Ruth,” “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” and others leading up to and concluding with Jesus’ words from Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV) The ending brought rousing applause from the audience.
I started thinking about the people from the Bible. Now, they are real-life superheroes who did it all by the power of God. ~Tyron Hoisten
A graduate of the University of Akron, Tyron Hoisten is a playwright, artist, and storyteller who has appeared numerous times on TCT network and on Home and Family (Hallmark Channel). In addition to the Civic, Tyron has presented in the venues of TEDx Akron, Upward Bound, and Ohio Black Women’s Leadership Caucus, among others. With everything he has accomplished, his focus has been on his call to serve.
A fan of action movies, Tyron saw the movie, The Avengers in June 2018. “I love superhero movies,” said Tyron. “They always are doing amazing, impossible things. I started thinking about the people from the Bible. Now, they are real-life superheroes who did it all by the power of God.” He then spoke of Jesus. “I love the way Jesus preached, how He used stories to illustrate and illuminate life.”
When asked why he chose the stories he did for “The Bible Live,” Tyron said, “I like action, excitement, and love.
He started thinking about how he could present Bible stories in a dramatic fashion. Thinking led to planning, and he presented the idea to Howard Parr, executive director of the Akron Civic Theater. The idea sprang to life when Mr. Parr agreed to put the event on the theater’s calendar. With ticket prices ranging from $10 for general admission to $24 for reserved seating, not only was it an affordable outing–it was also uplifting for the audience of about one-thousand.
Tyron, with his many experiences in Akron, has a host of colleagues and quickly found the twenty-six volunteers who would bring the production to the stage. He prayed about who would best fit each role and while only a handful are thespians, they all did a masterful job of speaking the passages to the crowd.
When asked why he chose the stories he did for “The Bible Live,” he said, “I like action, excitement, and love. I chose the passages that exemplify these three things.” Sounds of spring rain and birds opened the production as the story of the Creation of Adam and Eve was read. Lions roaring and growling were behind the scenes of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and the music swelled at the resurrected Jesus’ words to His disciples.
Before the presentation started and again after the intermission, an organist played worship music on what is called “the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ,” which rises from the orchestra pit as it is being played. If you’ve been to see “The Phantom,” you would have enjoyed the same sensory experience. Built in 1929 by Marcus Loew, the Civic was fashioned after the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar. The theater also has one of the five remaining “atmospheric ceilings” in the US. It all added to the drama of “The Bible Live.”
After the intermission, a local creative artist, Xposure shared a poem she wrote about the names of God. Harkening back to the old sermon by S.M. Lockridge (“That’s My King.”), Xposure’s delivery rose in emotion as she delivered many of the names of God, most notably “Strong Tower.” She spoke the names of Jehovah and added a brief look at the twenty-third Psalm. A church service “broke out” as members of the audience cheered and clapped throughout and especially as she reached the crescendo.
Starting with Gabriel’s announcement to Mary and ending with the Resurrection, the second act was as powerful as the first. It left us wanting more of the Bible. Well done, Minister Hoisten and cast.
Tyron plans to add more dramatic presentations from the Bible. He is dreaming about possibly producing a version of “David and Goliath” or “The Story of Ruth” for the stage. Check in with him at http://www.tyronhoisten.com.
All photos by Germayne Griffin
Lisa Kibler is a multiple award-winning writer/blogger and international speaker. She has been published in Celebrate Gettysburg, CBN.com, Refresh Magazine, Almost an Author, Faith Beyond Fear, and is a contributor to Heart Renovation by Lighthouse Bible Studies. Lisa is a mentor for Word Weavers, Intl. and is president of the Kent, Ohio chapter. She is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Writers Guild, Your Novel Blueprint, and Tribe Writers. She has just completed Someplace To Be Somebody, the memoir of former black nationalist, Pastor Marshall Brandon. Lisa is represented by Hartline Literary Agency. Her website is https://www.lisakibler.com