'More Than a Story,' an Easter production, to be staged at Greater Johnstown Christian Fellowship

Mar. 28—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — In the midst of pain and sadness, this production will celebrate the the hope of salvation.

The drama "More Than a Story" will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Greater Johnstown Christian Fellowship, 3429 Elton Road, Richland Township.

"We're attempting to make the Easter story come to life so that people not only see it, but they experience the dynamics of what's going on," said Don Trotz, co-writer and director of the show.

The 75-minute production will take audiences on a journey back to 1929 as news reporters discover the reality of the birth and life of Christ, experience the verdict, endure the flogging, eyewitness the pain of Calvary, observe the defeat of death and comprehend his ascension.

"We have a newsroom in 1929 in Bronx, New York, during the Great Depression, and we're telling that story through that newsroom as they start to type the beginning of the story," Trotz said. "They have to develop a story that's different and something positive in the midst of this Depression. The story becomes alive and you see the action as it's unfolding right in front of you."

He said the story puts a vivid picture in people's minds.

"This is the Bible coming to life right in front of you," Trotz said. "You can never do it fully what he really went through, but we want to do the best we can to the most realistic point that we possibly can."

He said when co-writer Mike D'Angelo sat down to craft the play, they asked a small group of cast members for input.

"We wanted them to contribute, add to it and help us write it, and it was amazing how everybody worked together," Trotz said.

The production features a cast and crew of 80 people, who are members of the church and community.

"Every play, we tend to get more people who want to be in the next performance, so we've added another five or six people to our cast who were never with us before, and that's really exciting," Trotz said.

He said the cast has embraced the story.

"They love it, and when they go to 1929, they really play the part," Trotz said. "The dedication and commitment has been unbelievable. We've been doing run-throughs of the play and it's going phenomenally well."

The hope is that the production will visually capture Jesus' life.

"We want the audience to see that the Easter story is more than a story. It's a way of life, it's hope and it's the opposite of the Great Depression," Trotz said. "We want the audience to experience that hope, joy and peace this Easter season."

There is no fee to attend.

For more information, call 814-266-2322 or visit www.gjcf.org.