Chuck, “retired” to full-time work for Oh Pray. Once he completed the orchestration of the kid’s videos animated by Karen, they turned their focus to the Daniel musical originally performed at Brunswick Church in Troy, NY. Little did they know when God put it on their heart to begin to write this in 2007, how relevant the story of Daniel’s faith and persistence in the face of persecution would be in 2023!
This Daniel project has been a walk of faith with God watching over them. In his timing, doors have opened to the right people – just when they needed them.
First, they added many new songs along with a full-orchestra sound under the tutelage of Gary Tash. Local musical talent, Rachel Premo, worked with Chuck to create a professionally scored libretto.
Over fifty people participated in the creation of the first professionally mastered Cast Album. Volunteers with amazing voices came from all over the area including: neighbors, work friends, their Bible study and worship team at Northwood Church here in Summerville, as well as from performance groups like S.H.E.E.P. and House Theatre. Yes, they even walked up to people after concerts and said, “Wow, you have a great voice! Would you like to come sing for us?” and soon to be friends would say, “Sure!”
In the meantime, Karen reworked and expanded the original script which led to the change of the name of the play to Daniel and the Kings. Multiple workshops were held to help continue to tighten the script – using the talents of dramaturges God sent their way. As they were beginning to feel ready to release the new show, doors were not opening as they hoped.
A funny thing happened on their way to the next step. Karen sustained major, life changing injuries in a motor vehicle accident a block from home, surviving only by a miracle. It was a reminder that tomorrow is never a guarantee. So they decided to go all in and produce Daniel and the Kings at a professional level – and fund it themselves!
They started, in faith, by booking the North Charleston Performing Arts Center for September 21-24, 2023. And remarkably — a team of professionals all with Broadway level experience came together along side of Chuck and Karen to take Daniel and the Kings to wherever God will take it. One great production team person led to another. An Incredibly talented musician/orchestrator Abdiel Iriarte from Venezuela, shared that he was praying for a faith-based production to work on. Working as a team, Abdiel created the orchestration for the pit orchestra – bringing originality, pace and a sound that rivals Broadway productions. As a result, the North Charleston POPS orchestra was excited to join and participate in this new project from local writers. Thomas Keating, chair of Charleston Southern University Theatre department, who worked on Broadway doing sets, stepped in to help as Consulting Producer. Costume Designer Janine McCabe, Chair of College of Charleston Theatre department, had worked on Broadway doing costumes – just happened to be going on sabbatical and would have time! Thomas led them to Nicole Campbell, Lighting Designer who had an amazing resume doing productions around the country; she not only has a love for hanging from the rafters, she is creative and has heart for God! She led them to Kayla Arrell, Scenery Designer in PA, who worked for Sight and Sound and little things like the MTV awards and the Super Bowl. Kayla, Zoom-ed her way onto the team. Once Brad Moranz, former Broadway actor, tour circuit actor, director, producer, talented musician and writer in his own right, unbelievably agreed to dramaturg and direct the production – all kinds of professional actors came forward to join this project.
God is good.