Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Religious Theater

I wrote about these three icons of Los Angeles religious theater in 2011, but I feel that it's appropriate in December to highlight them once again.
This is the time of year when we are bombarded with holiday shows on TV as well as in our local performance venues.  I'm not a religious person. Culturally, I am Jewish. However, I do love the "theater" of it all. Attending a church service for a performance has always been one of my favorite things to do. Churches are generally beautiful buildings, often with much architectural history attached. Think about the "Glory of Easter" and the "Glory of Christmas at the architecturally splendid Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. WOW! Those were spectacular shows. That old-time religion was and is big business in the media.  Los Angeles religious leaders like Aimee Semple McPherson and her  Angelus TempleKathryn Kuhlman broadcasting from the Shrine Auditorium and Miss Velma Jaggers at the Universal World Church all had a charismatic hold on many in this City.

Sister Aimee Semple McPherson

Kathryn Kuhlman

Miss Velma Jaggers

You can view a video of Miss Velma, soaring above her congregation, dressed as an angel as an example of her impressive theatrics. I was lucky enough to attend a couple of Miss Velma's Christmas services in the mid-1990's. There were more local musicians in the "congregation" than at a local show at The Echo!  We were all studying Miss Velma's extensive entertainment expertise.
If you're short on cash this holiday season and want to attend a Christmas-oriented show, check out one of our local churches for their concert schedule. You'll get to see a wonderful performance in a beautiful building for little or no money! Think about it, attending a concert or rock performance can be a religious experience. Entertainment and religion go hand-in-hand in Hollywood! 

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