Above: Wes Madara, center, portraying Jesus in LBC’s 2016 production of Godspell
Wes Madara, a 2016 graduate of Lancaster Bible College’s musical theatre program, landed a role in Sight & Sound Theatre’s production of Jesus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. According to the theatre company’s website, the musical, “. . . takes you on a miraculous journey alongside the most famous person ever to walk the earth and the everyday people whose lives he changed forever.” Christian News Journal calls the show, “Broadway meets Bible.”
If you’ve ever seen a show at Sight & Sound Theatres, you know that description is not an exaggeration. The scale of each show is truly a marvel to behold. In addition to an enormous cast, live animals that walk through the audience and singing and dancing on par with them best of them, the stage itself is a 300-foot-long panoramic setup that literally envelopes the audience in the story. Check out the trailer for Jesus below to get a glimpse of the magnitude of the show.
This is stage upon which Madara is about to set foot. He’s set to play the part of Dorian/Legion, the demon-possessed man whom Jesus casts the demons of into a heard of pigs, from now until October. Currently, he’s rehearsing for the role – his first show will be sometime this June – and practices can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. “I’m looking forward to using my talents to help tell the stories of the Bible and bring it to life,” said Madara. “Using the abilities that God has given me to entertain and teach others about the Lord is an incredible blessing. It is an incredibly humbling experience to work next to such talented people.”
Madara says he credits Lancaster Bible College with shaping him into the performer he is today. “LBC helped me tremendously with both giving me understanding of the word of God and helping me strengthen my abilities as both an actor and singer,” he explained. “The professors were always encouraging and pushing me to do greater things and helped me tap into abilities I never would have come into fruition otherwise.” He also says he’d recommend the college’s musical theatre program without hesitation. “As a fully accredited music program, paired with the incredibly talented staff, it is a great place to further your knowledge of God and further enhance talents God has given to you,” said Madara. “I was consistently humbled by the talent the students have. Being able to perform next to and for such talented people is an amazing opportunity. The professors are more than equipped to teach and guide the students and really care for them and want to see them succeed. You are more than just a random face to them – you matter.”
The talented performer has stayed busy with lots of acting and singing gigs since graduation. On top of his upcoming performances at Sight & Sound Theatres this year, he’s also been involved in a number of other productions. “I am currently rehearsing for a show called Smoke on the Mountain directed by Jen Felty for Red Accordion Studios,” he said. “She’s a former professor of mine and great friend from LBC. It is a show that was actually performed in the chapel of LBC and it tells the story of the Sanders family, a bluegrass playing God fearing troupe of musicians who have just returned to the musical circuit and who can’t quite seem to get things to go right for them. But the love of their family and God shines through despite the mistakes and a heart-filled story of family love definitely makes it one of my favorite shows. Plus, we all had to learn to play several different instruments to perform it.” You can catch him in that show June 14 to 23.
All in all, Madara says he wouldn’t be where he is today without Lancaster Bible College. “I have received more love and encouragement than I ever expected, and definitely believe God led me to this school and into the career he has placed me in,” he said. “My professors always believed in me and taught me the importance of hard work.”