On the stage and behind the scenes

The NarroWay Blog

Chapter 34: The Little Things

birdie and rebecca

7 years = 61,320 hours. And most of what makes up 61,320 hours will never make it into a chapter. It’s the little stuff. But, without it, the big stuff doesn’t happen.

1997 –
We renovated the amphitheater and opened “Two Thieves & A Savior” and “Jerusalem In Lights.”

two thieves show image
jerusalem in lights show image

1998 -
We were told that we needed to secure something called a “domain name” and establish something called a “website” – with no clue as to how significant that would be to the future!

Narroway.com was taken so we licensed www.narroway.net.

website screenshotThis is a screenshot from 1999 - the oldest one we could find on "The Wayback Machine." Unfortunately, no images were included.

That year we added “The Deliverer” to the NarroWay repertoire.

rehearsing the deliverer
deliverer show image

Gabriel, our donkey, left his farm in Southwest Virginia to become a star on the NarroWay stage.

donkey on stage

And the person who loaned us $50,000.00 to get NarroWay started called for an immediate payback. No explanation and no amount of pleading made any difference.

But NarroWay only had $30,000.00 and Birdie and I weren’t making enough to pay our own bills.

We were in a desperate situation!

We couldn’t possibly pay back $50,000.00.

Then, much like happened in the Old Testament, God spoke to a King – Johnny, that is. Unknown to us, Johnny had established a foundation and, at this exact time, he sent word granting NarroWay permission to apply.

The foundation contribution was $30,000, which gave NarroWay a total of $60,000.

Within two weeks we wrote the check for $50,000.00 to pay the debt and had $10,000 left to keep the business open.

1999 –

It was the end of a century. We added Biblical Field Trips and “Lord of Light.”

field trip advertisement
lord of light show image

Rebecca’s daddy and my brother stood at the top of the amphitheater one night during a “bone-dance” rehearsal of “Lord of Light” and declared we had surely lost our minds. But we got the last laugh when the show filled up the amphitheater.

amphitheatre crowd
bone costumes

Things were looking up. Birdie and I started writing our show of the century: “Anno Domini.”

We added Donna Patterson to the staff.

anno domini show image
donna on phone

And we gave up trying to wrestle rented camels and bought our very own one-year-old dromedary and named her “Sheba.”

camel on stage
camel closeup

As 1999 drew to a close everyone was anxious about changing centuries. Some said the world would gridlock. Others said that Jesus would return.

But, just in case He didn’t, we leased and renovated Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s elaborate PTL television studio, and prepared to perform a winter dinner theater: “Wounded Warrior.”

cleaning windows
wounded warrior show image

That show follows a family who faces tragedy. We had no idea that we were about to do the same.

Strong, healthy, happy and filled with life, on November 5, 1999, my daddy had a stroke. He was a vitally active part of my life. I thought I would die!
The night before, he sat beside me as I worked on the script of “Anno Domini.”
“What’s it about?” he said.
“It’s the story of Stephen.” I replied, not allowing myself to be distracted.
“How are you going to do that?” he asked.
“You’ll see.” And I went on working.
...“You’ll see.” It was an assumption I will always regret.

rebecca and daddy
rebecca's daddy

The century turned to 2000 AD. The world didn’t self-destruct.
We performed “Wounded Warrior” during January / February and premiered “Anno Domini” outdoors May-October.

apostles at cross

For the next two summers, the NarroWay cast alternated performing all three shows: “Two Thieves,” “The Deliverer” and “Anno Domini.” IT WAS CRAZY!


birdie directing
rebecca on stage

2001 -
We prepared a new winter dinner theater, set in 1973 & 1993 called “Twenty Years Ago.”

cast in rehearsal
making tye-dye shirts
show advertisement

We added “Donna, Shorty & Santa” to “Jerusalem In Lights,” making it a two-act show! Donna Patterson played “Donna” in that show and has never missed a year since!

donna in show
santa and elf

2002 –
This may register as the craziest notion we ever had – we felt the Lord wanted us to take a show to Myrtle Beach, SC.


  • Three hundred fifty miles / seven hours round trip!
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings: Perform at The Forum Theater, Myrtle Beach.
  • Every day plus Monday evenings: Go to piers, campgrounds, hotels, malls - anywhere we could – marketing the show!
  • Friday: Travel home and perform at King’s Arena in Fort Mill on Friday night and Saturday night.
  • Sunday: Travel back to Myrtle Beach.
  • Do it all over again for thirteen weeks!

We met with the cast of “Twenty Years Ago.” Shared the vision. Asked if there was anyone who would do it.

An unbelievable thing happened!
They said “YES!”

It nearly killed us all but it was a magnificent success!


But why write about it when you can see it? Watch this short, entertaining capsule of that beach experience, so brilliantly compiled by Mark Bing, videographer, friend and, even after all this, still a NarroWay cast member!

Enjoy! But notice as you watch, it’s the little stuff that made this big event so much fun.
As you go through your day, don’t miss the little stuff. Chances are, you’ll always remember the big things but, before you realize, this hour will be 1 of 61,320 and 7 years will be gone.


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Chapter 35: The Name
Chapter 33: The Funny Farm

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