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STILL Virtual World Premiere Now Available on Demand

The musical has become the launching point for the New Works Program at Olivet.

STILL Virtual World Premiere Now Available on Demand

This spring, one Midwestern University workshopped and produced the new musical, Still. Through hours of collaboration, the Olivet Nazarene University Theatre program brought to life the modernized retelling of Fanny Crosby's work and life. By using her life and journey as a creative lyricist as inspiration, ONU theatre tells a story that will resonate with audiences.

This past fall, ONU Theatre, like many theatre departments across the country, faced the challenges of producing shows amidst pandemic protocols. Director Ashley Sarver realized one way to maneuver the various roadblocks, specifically for licensing with the approaching spring productions, was to create an original piece, record it in studio and then film the production.

"As Christians with the gift of story-telling, it is our job to provide quality content that points people to truth and light," Sarver says.

Using her own professional background in directing and producing new works, and her passion for creating Christ-honoring productions, Sarver recruited the help of her students, co-workers and colleagues to begin the process.

The creation process of the musical has proven to be an invaluable learning experience for all those involved, especially the students. With that, the musical has become the launching point for the New Works Program at Olivet.

"At Olivet we have the ability to teach and incorporate our Christian values into our productions," Sarver explains. "We want to prepare students to be lights in this industry, teaching them how to create and to use storytelling as a service for the glory of God."

As part of the teaching process, students were given the opportunity to participate in workshops for the musical to enhance and explore all that the script could be.

Freshman Marisa Constantino, who stars as Fanny, says, "Being a part of creating a show from scratch has been very eye opening." She continues, "It is a tiring process, but having a finalized script is so rewarding because it's a reminder that all our time rehearsing and finalizing the story was not for nothing."

Constantino and other cast members have agreed that being involved to this capacity in producing the show has been so influential on their growth as actors. "I think the most exciting and challenging part of the process was creating the character of Fanny," says Constantino. "I have been able to learn a lot about how to develop this character genuinely from Prof. Sarver and her vision for the show, and that has helped me grow into a better actress and storyteller."

Since its primary stages of development, Still has evolved to become a modern retelling of Fanny's inspiring life story, and what was intended to be a simple story has developed into something deeper than the cast and creators could have imagined.

"Fanny's story tells our story," Sarver says. "In the chaos of our world right now, it is important to remember the very real voice of God in our lives, and that it can be found when we are still and at rest."

Experience the Story
The virtual premiere of Still will continue to be accessible for on demand streaming through December 25. Tickets are $20 and available at

For the virtual playbill:


Book/Lyrics/Music by Ashley Elizabeth Sarver
Piano Compositions: Thomas Rankin; Drum compositions: Malik Temple; Guitar compositions: Jayson Zorn
Original Choreography by Kelsie Davis

Production Team
Director: Ashley Elizabeth Sarver
Music Director: Dr. Neal Woodruff
Choreographer: Kelsie Davis
Lighting & Sound Designer: Matt Steinacker
Videography: Joe Mantarian
Assistant Director & Costume Designer: Helen Berdebes
Set Designer: Jackson Thornhill
Stage Manager: Sisi Clark
Additional Compositions: Grace Franklyn

Fanny Crosby: Marisa Constantino
Emily Devine: Brooke Barrick
Caroline Hewitt: Ashtyn Williams
Alexander van Alstyne Jr. "Van": Andrew McBurnie
Prof. Victoria Chamberlain: Victoria Volante
Captain James Stratton Hewitt: Sam Durnil
Mercy Crosby: Jordyn Dunbar
Voice: Shelby Black
Ensemble: Samantha Rose Brody, Josh Hershberger, David Wagner, Mollie Peery
Dancers: Jessica Buffa, Daria Caravette, Emma Jones

Pit Singers:
Mikayla Tackaberry, Maddi Reddy, Lizzie Shearer, Jemma Newby, Rachel Long, Aaron Newsome, Jamin Gordon, Noah Campbell-White, Zeke Amposta

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