Stage and screen actors form unique relationships with their audiences. Through their work, they challenge, teach, and inspire us by shedding light in all corners of life and connecting with us through our senses and emotions. Working on the Inside goes backstage into the inner lives of respected actors like Liam Neeson, Vanessa Williams, Phylicia Rashad, Edward Herrmann, Kristin Chenoweth and many others to reveal the deep spirituality each one relies on in their lives and work. The result is a book like no other that draws ten key elements of the universal spiritual life from the perspective of actors whose work it is to tap into the essence of life, tell stories, and reveal life's truths. Retta Blaney, an award-winning journalist now specializing in theatre and religion, was inspired to write this book by the spiritual wisdom actors conveyed in their interviews with her over the years. She dared to ask actors questions few ever do-How does your spirituality influence your life and work? How do you pray? What do you pray for? How do you stay centered in a career with so much uncertainty? And they answered her, readily sharing experiences of faith, being in the moment, listening, silence, prayer, self-knowledge, community, hospitality, ritual and transformation. The result is a book that takes readers into the private thoughts of some of their favorite actors for inspiring tips on how they, too, can begin working on the inside.
Retta Blaney is a theatre and religion writer in Manhattan. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Newsday, National Catholic Reporter, The Jewish Week, The Living Church, American Theatre, Back Stage, and other publications.
Chapter 1 Faith: Jeanne Beauvais * Dudu Fisher * Michael McElroy * Kristin Chenoweth * Larry Collis * Rabbi Richard Steinberg * The Rev. Paul S. Schmiege Chapter 2 In the Moment: Vanessa Williams * Casey Groves * Kristin Chenoweth * Richard Costa * Rabbi David Woznica * The Rev. Robert E. Kennedy, S.J. Chapter 3 Listening: Kristin Chenoweth * Edward Herrmann * Rabbi Laurie Katz Braun * Peter W. Culman Chapter 4 Silence: Phylicia Rashad * Edward Herrmann * Liam Neeson * Matt Mitler * Rabbi James L. Mirel * Sr. Mary Elizabeth Earley, S.C. Chapter 5 Prayer: Liam Neeson * Vanessa Williams * Michael McElroy * Bertilla Baker * Kristin Chenoweth * Rabbi David Baron * The Rev. George Drance, S.J. Chapter 6 Self-Knowledge: Vanessa Williams * Edward Herrmann * Ann Dowd * Amanda Blair Ellis * Heather Tamar Feffer * The Rev. Mitties DeChamplain Chapter 7 Community: Michael McElroy * Liam Neeson * Amanda Blair Ellis * Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg * The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam Chapter 8 Hospitality: Kristin Chenoweth * Lesley Birchall Collis * Larry Collis * Matt Mitler * Carol-Jean Lewis * Rabbi Allen A. Secher * The Rev. Erno Diaz Chapter 9 Ritual: Carol-Jean Lewis * Merwin Goldsmith * Matt Mitler * Rabbi Noach Valley * The Rev. Canon Jay Wegman Chapter 10 Transformation: Kristin Chenoweth * Casey Groves * Lesley Collis * Shoshana Bean * Rabbi Richard Jacobs * The Rev. William A. Doubleday