DAVID Synopsis, with photos

DAVID posterDAVID: the Giant-Killing, Song- Singing Chosen King  will receive its world premiere on afO’s stage in the ArtsLab theater at 300 E. Main Street, from February 16 through 25, 2018.  Here are some thoughts from playwright/composer/actor Sam Ward on this dynamic one-man show, a combination of theatrical story-telling and high-powered rock concert:



by Sam Ward

March 10, 2017. The stage and the audience were both small. 60-70 people had gathered for a fundraising event.  all for One‘s artistic director introduced the show there was applause as I walked onstage to begin a 30-minute preview of my original one-man musical, DAVID.  I was a little nervous, but I was prepared and felt called to share this story.

It’s the story of a man who is known both as a singer/songwriter, and as a warrior and king.  It’s the story of a man who was known for his pure heart, and yet committed terrible sin against Uriah, Bathsheba and others.  But mostly, it’s a story of a powerful God and the man who tried to express his love for God in song.

As we move toward a polished production–with five “mighty men” musicians accompanying me–I wanted to share some photos from that first preview performance last year, along with a synopsis of the first half of the show:

At the top of the show, the prophet Samuel anoints David.  The Spirit of God enters David and empowers him for the rest of his life…


The Philistines gather their troops and attack Israel…

The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, steps out from the frontlines and issues his challenge, “Give me a man and let us fight it out together!”

David hits the giant hard in the head and Goliath falls, facedown in the dirt!

As the Israelite army heads home, the women come out from the villages to welcome King Saul.  For fun they sing, “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands.”

Filled with jealousy, Saul tries to kill David.  David sings a song of justice to God.  “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you / Save me and deliver me, from all who would pursue…”

Saul discovers that Michal, his daughter, is in love with David.  Thinking the Philistines will get rid of David for him, Saul challenges David to kill 100 Philistines to get Michal as his wife.  David does it and Saul gives his daughter, Michal, to David in marriage…

Then God sends a dark mood to afflict Saul.  It takes control of him.  He is at home with his spear while David is (again!) playing music.  Saul tries to pin him to the wall…

David escapes and sings to God.  “Deliver me from my enemies, O God / Protect me from those who rise up against me…”

David runs to Nob and talks to Ahimelech the priest.  Ahimelech gives him the holy bread, taken from the presence of God, and also Goliath’s sword.  David escapes to Gath…

David is recognized by the Philistines.  Afraid for his life, David pretends to be insane.  When he escapes he sings his thanks to God, “In God, whose Word I praise / In God I trust, I will not be afraid / What can mortal man do to me?”

This is just the beginning of David’s life and only the first 30 minutes of a show which is now about 80 minutes long.  I’m excited to present these characters, these songs and THIS STORY, because I think it will help all of us see a man who was flawed, but who loved the Lord with his whole heart.


Presenting JANE EYRE

je-final-graphicFour years ago all for One staged Jane Austen’s Emma, a literary classic. For the first time, our cast members actively participated in the research process, and the result was so much valuable material that afO created a blog site, Creating Emma, on which to house it. Our audience expressed interest in reading the extended dramaturgy. Ultimately we created this blog, all for One: Behind the Scenes, in order to present a fuller version of our research, production design process, etc. for our audience’s enjoyment and future reference.

This week we have begun to work on our 2016 season finale, an original adaptation of a giant of classic British literature:  Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  Over the course of the next two months, we will be publishing a number of research articles contributed by cast members, for your pleasure and edification…and in anticipation of the opening of Jane Eyre on April 29.

Here, first of all, is the cast, most of whom play multiple roles. An asterix indicates an afO Home Stage debut.


Dambra, Deborah*


Dunlap, John


Fritz, Evan


Hobson, Sarah*


Hodgin, Sarah*


King, Brittany*


Kuster, Stacey


Moore, Jadon


Newman-Aumiller, Christine


Plohr, Jordan*


Ramsour, Abbey*


Ramsour, Lydia*


Rothenbush, Jennifer*


Salisbury, Jeff


Steffen, Molly*


Wilder, Ben





The music of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s era

Songbook imagePlaywright Laurie Brooks suggests using traditional 19th century music to enhance her play, A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas. And she points to a valuable resource, a compilation of all the songs mentioned in Wilder’s Little House books. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook presents a comprehensive collection of folk tunes from the 1800s in America. Some are silly, many are familiar, but a few have slipped through the cracks of culture and been forgotten.

One of these, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” (words and music by Henry Clifton, 1867), Brooks has adopted as the unofficial theme for her play about a difficult time in Laura’s early life. Her parents were struggling to make ends meet, and had left the familiarity of farming for life in town. Perseverance was a hallmark of Charles and Caroline’s lives, and so this little some about contentment and hope is very appropriate. Our audience will hear it played or sung several times in the course of the play. Here is verse one and the chorus:

This life is a difficult riddle,
for how many people we see
with faces as long as a fiddle
that ought to be shining with glee?
I am sure in this world there are plenty 
of good things enough for us all.
And yet there’s not one out of twenty,
but thinks that his share is too small.

Then what is the use of repining
for where there’s a will there’s a way.
And tomorrow the sun may be shining,
although it is cloudy today. 

LIWC Pa and Laura

Pa (Evan Fritz) consoles Laura (Maddie Gerig) who is ‘repining’…

Other songs used instrumentally are:  “In the Sweet By and By” (words by S. Fillmore Bennett; music by J.P. Webster, 1867), which opens the play as the family stand around Baby Freddy’s grave;  “Deck and Halls” and “Silent Night”–used for scene changes or pantomime; “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (words and music by Henry Clifton, 1867)–heard played on the tavern piano in the three “soundscapes” depicting life in the hotel. Additionally, several songs will be sung:  “The First Noel”–Mary and Laura are practicing for a Christmas Eve service;  “Oft in the Stilly Night” (words by Thomas Moore, music: traditional Scottish, 1815)–a sad song sung as a sort of wistful lullaby by Ma and Mrs. Starr; and “Merry, Merry Christmas” (words and music by Mrs. T.J. Cook, 1871)–a lively piece whose rollicking chorus and hymnlike verses will be unfamiliar to the audience. It perfectly portrays the joy the family feels at the end of the play:

Why should we so joyfully sing with grateful mirth?
See, the Sun of Righteousness beams upon the earth!

Merry, merry Christmas ev’rywhere!
Cheerily it ringeth through the air.
Christmas bells, Christmas trees,
Christmas odors on the breeze.
Merry, merry Christmas ev’rywhere!
Cheerily it ringeth through the air.

Garth Williams' illustration for a Christmas tree in one of Wilder's books

Garth Williams’ illustration for a Christmas tree in one of Wilder’s books