“LUTHER”: Reformation on the Stage

      The life of 16th century German monk, Martin Luther,  impacted the way we think about life, justice, freedom, and religion. This rich history from centuries past lives on today, specifically through the gifted actors, singers, musicians, and directors of the pop oratorio commissioned by the German government in recognition of the 500 year anniversary of the reformation, “LUTHER.”

      Students and faculty at Eastern have the unique privilege of being located just minutes away from one of the two locations of the American premiere of this production. It is set to premier at Church of the Savior, located in Wayne. More notably, however, many Eastern students and alumni will be a part of the production, including Ronald Matthews, the executive director of Eastern’s music and fine arts division. Alumni Andy Lenko (‘17), Morgan Hess (‘16), and Kyle Herman (‘07) continue to represent Eastern University by being actively involved in the show’s orchestra. Additionally, Eastern’s choir is one of the three choirs that will be joining together to form a group of 150 singers, in addition to the soloists, rock orchestra, and multimedia effects that ensure a high quality experience for all in attendance as well as those participating.

      The second performance in the United States is Oct. 29. Producer-Director Drew Pulver, a new adjunct faculty member of Eastern University and a professional singer is currently on contract at Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, and was given the performance rights for the United States. He translated the work from German into English. Eastern welcomes Pulver and the rich experience and wisdom he has to offer our music department as well as our university at large.

      “LUTHER” utilizes art-driven, musical-based mediums to capture and communicate key aspects of the Reformation, the historical event when Martin Luther posted the “95 Theses” on Oct. 31, 1517. This writing sparked the Protestant Reformation, proposing two central beliefs. These beliefs were that the Bible is the central religious authority, and that we may reach salvation by faith alone, not by deeds. After this set of beliefs was proposed by Luther, Protestantism was thereafter shaped greatly by his ideas, and the course of religion and culture in the west was forever altered. In the musical production about Luther’s influence and the Reformation, lyrics to one of the songs reflect upon this significant event: “The Reformation is greater than any one man. The Reformation is greater than any one nation. The Reformation is greater than any one religion.” These ideas are explored and celebrated on the stage, and will be remembered on this 500 year anniversary remembrance, and well into the future as well. Join Eastern University and the surrounding community as we remember this significant event in religious history. Tickets are available for purchase at lutherustour.com.

      Sources: History.com, Facebook.com, lutherustour.com

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