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Stick to what you're good at: church loses millions on a musical

A stage show about the founder of the Pentecostal church left critics unmoved and the theater empty.

  • Michael Gryboski
  • United States
  • February 22, 2013
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A California megachurch that serves as the founding congregation of a global Pentecostal denomination may have lost $2 million due to investing in a musical that flopped last winter.

The Foursquare Church of Echo Park, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, has been rumored to have lost the sum when it invested in a musical about its founder, Aimee Semple McPherson.

According to David Ng and Mike Boehm of the Los Angeles Times, two anonymous sources within Foursquare confirmed the financial loss for the church's Foursquare Foundation charitable arm.

"Foursquare representatives declined to say how much the church foundation lost when the show closed Dec. 9, but two Foursquare clergy members with knowledge of the situation placed it at $2 million," wrote Hg and Boehm.

"The foundation's executive director, Greg Campbell, left the church within days of the show's closure, said the people. In addition, the church replaced all but one of the foundation board members in part because of dissatisfaction with the decision to invest in a Broadway musical."

The Foursquare Church is a Pentecostal denomination that began with the establishment of Angelus Temple at the beginning of 1923.

Considered a global denomination, Foursquare boasts of having over 66,000 churches and meeting places in over 130 nations, including 1,700 congregations in the United States.

To commemorate its founder, the charitable arm of Foursquare invested in a musical about the controversial life of McPherson.

"Set in 1920s Los Angeles, holiness collides with Hollywood in the extraordinary tale of one woman's charismatic rise to fame," reads the about section on the website for the Broadway production.

"But as her popularity grows, so do her enemies, until her sermons, her celebrity and her past combine to put everything she believes in on trial."

Written by television personality Kathie Lee Gifford and with music composed by David Friedman and David Pomeranz, the production opened last November only to close the following month after 31 preview performances and 29 regular performances.

Gifford, who had regularly plugged "Scandalous" during the NBC Today show, attributed the failure of the Broadway production to issues surrounding Hurricane Sandy. Gifford pointed to other productions like "Chaplin" and "The Performers" which were impacted in a similar manner.

Full Story: LA Megachurch Loses $2 Million Over Musical Flop 

Source: Christian Post

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