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Full Houses for ‘Toymaker’s Dream’ : Cast of Christian Musical Returns From Soviet Tour

From Times Wire Services

An American-produced Christian musical is back in the United States after performing for sold-out audiences in Moscow and Leningrad.

The cast of “Toymaker’s Dream,” an elaborate Broadway-type touring musical, did 18 performances for more than 75,000 people from Aug. 31 to Sept. 14.

A 6-minute video of footage from the Soviet tour will be shown on the Christian Broadcasting Network in October. It will air during the 700 Club’s “World Watch” segment. A CBN film crew accompanied the 30-member cast of “Toymaker’s Dream” on their tour.

“The response from the audiences was incredible,” said Tom Newman, president of Impact Productions of Tulsa, the nonprofit organization that produced the show. “People were standing, clapping, shouting ‘Bravo!’ and throwing flowers. It was an amazing reaction.”

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“Toymaker’s Dream” is a stage presentation that depicts the biblical account of man’s creation, fall from God’s grace and redemption through the life and death of Jesus Christ. God is portrayed as “The Toymaker.” His creations are toys in “Dreamland.” Through this allegory the actors communicate the message of love, rebellion, sacrifice and redemption.

The Soviets were eager to learn about America from the 30 young people who came to share a Christian message of love, hope and peace, Newman said.

“Every day I did three to five interviews for radio and newspapers. We were on national television four times.”

Most of the media’s questions concerned the Americans’ impression of the Soviet Union and Mikhail Gorbachev, and whether the Americans were being treated well during their stay, Newman said.

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“The Soviets took care of everything for us. We stayed in the nicest hotel, had the best food and were provided with ground transportation, tour guides and interpreters. We were treated wonderfully--better than we anticipated,” he said.

Soviet audience members paid six rubles--more than a day’s wage--to see the show. Moscow performances of “Toymaker’s Dream” were sold out after the first performance. In Leningrad, the cast performed in the 10,000-seat Leningrad Sports Complex, the same arena where Billy Joel played last year.

The Soviets invited the cast to return in November and stay for three months. Newman said that it may not be possible to raise the money for another tour so soon. “But we hope to go back and tour before the end of 1989.”

Representatives from Bulgaria, Cuba and Afghanistan also extended invitations to the group.

“Toymaker’s Dream” is a theater presentation unlike anything the Soviets had ever seen, Newman said.

“It was advertised as a rock ballet. We use flame throwers, lasers, karate, rock ‘n’ roll and dance to portray a historical story. It is definitely a glitzy, American production. I think the Soviets were caught off guard. We used a totally new medium.”

Narration for “Toymaker’s Dream” was given in Russian.

Newman said the Soviet people were very interested in the cast’s message of peace and hope.

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“Before the performances, our band played the song ‘Love Will Find a Way.’ During that song, the audience lit lighters and there was a feeling that love could make the difference. Sure, there is a lot of skepticism between our two countries, but trust, understanding and a sharing of culture and spirituality will go a long way.”


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