Entertainment :: Theatre

LaBarbera Wants a Christian Choreographer for ’Mary Poppins’ at Liberty U.

by Bobby McGuire
Contributor
Thursday Apr 10, 2014
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Poster for Liberty University’s production of "Mary Poppins" opening Friday, April 11
Poster for Liberty University’s production of "Mary Poppins" opening Friday, April 11  

It’s the day of the show y’all.

The drama surrounding the Drama Department at Liberty University’s decision to hire Geoffrey Goldberg, a gay choreographer to helm their production of "Mary Poppins" continued Tuesday on Voice of Christian Youth America radio’s "Crosstalk" program, when guest Americans For Truth About Homosexuality head Peter LaBarbera and host Vic Eliason suggested the school fire the Broadway veteran at the eleventh hour.

"Does not Christianity have people of talent enough to do the choreography of a dramatic presentation..?" Eliason asked during his conversation with LaBarbera, when the pair suggested that Liberty dismiss Goldberg from his duties as choreographer three days before the show’s first performance on Friday.

If successful in finding a Christian with the skills to choreograph, they’d better be "as lucky as lucky can be" to find a candidate that can work fast. "Mary Poppins" has 17 musical numbers in the first act alone.

"It’s alarming when you see the percentage of homosexuals that have invaded the arts such as drama," said Lamented Eliason. "But drama ends up being a tool to persuade the minds of people. It becomes a tool to do some mind-bending or to capture the minds of individuals. [...] and now we see what’s happening at the options of a university that could have put the brakes on this and said no, we’re going to look for someone who is really a representative of the lifestyle that we’re doing here."

LaBarbera responded, "I think they do and I hope that Liberty does the right thing. [...] I think Liberty really has to watch it because of course the homosexual activists want to undermine Liberty, of course they want to undermine Christian institutions."

"If successful in finding a Christian with the skills to choreograph, they’d better be ’as lucky as lucky can be’ to find candidate can work fast."

As previously reported, the decision to hire an openly gay choreographer that Christian News has labeled "an open homosexual advocate" for his support of marriage equality on his social media accounts has some on the religious right kicking their heels up in frustration.

According to Christian News, Liberty University, considered the world’s largest Christian university hired New York City-based professional dancer, Geoffrey Goldberg (previously profiled by EDGE), a veteran of the Broadway production of "Mary Poppins" to choreograph the school’s upcoming production of the Disney tuner.

An official from Liberty University issued the following statement Monday, a day prior to the "Crosstalk" broadcast.

"For decades, Liberty University has hired only faculty members who affirm the university’s doctrinal statement.  The choreographer in question is an independent contractor supplied to the university through a third party association and has never applied for employment at Liberty University and has never been an employee of Liberty.  Liberty has never required vendors who provide goods and services to the university to adhere to the university’s doctrinal beliefs.  To the extent Mrs. Linda Cooper was referring to independent contractors when she said the university never inquires about beliefs or personal lives in hiring, she was correct.  For example, Liberty has hundreds of construction workers on campus right now and has no idea whether any of them share the same faith.  Liberty has no plans to ever deviate from any of its longstanding policies and procedures for hiring.  It will continue to interview prospective faculty and staff regarding their doctrinal beliefs and practices. We understand the contractor in question had a wonderful time visiting Liberty University, and found our Christian university to be a welcoming place despite our different beliefs."

The Alluvion Stage Company production of "Mary Poppins" opens on Friday, April 11 and runs through May 9. Click here for tickets.

According to their Liberty University website, it is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, the largest university in Virginia and the largest Christian university in the world. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 beautiful acres in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty offers over 350 programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, and is home to more than 100,000 residential and online students.

Since 1971, the mission of Liberty University has been to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world. With a unique heritage and an ever-expanding influence, Liberty remains steadfast in its commitment of Training Champions for Christ.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2014-04-11 09:08:45

    Being pleasant and nice, assuming they were, is not "welcoming," being affirming is showing appreciation for this gifted dancer that "God" has given.


  • Anonymous, 2014-04-11 21:27:31

    All LaBarbera is proving is that he is narrow mined and bigoted. How dare he assume that a Gay person is not also Christian? Furthermore, if you want to put on a fine theatre production, it is essential to get the best producers, choreographers and directors - and God has given many LGBT people these gifts and talents.


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