The Cross and the Switchblade is the true story of Pastor David Wilkerson, who worked in the gang-ruled streets of New York. He published the story in 1962. It was subsequently made into a movie and Broadway musical. The story is the dramatic conversion to Christ of Nicky Cruz, a gang leader.
Randy got the idea for Christian Vision to produce the musical. He invited young people from other churches to join in, and got days at the McKinley High School auditorium for rehearsals and performances. Betty was designated to do publicity and promotion. She asked, “How many seats?” Randy told her there were 1114 seats, and he was planning three performances on two weekends. Awe! Which means “ouch” in Hawaii.
Betty contacted nearly every church in town to get notices in their newsletters and bulletins. Flyers were made and put in store windows. Everybody in the show was asked to invite friends and neighbors. The auditorium was packed all six performances!
Opening night, two seats in the front row were reserved for the Governor of Hawaii and his wife. They arrived as the lights went down and the curtain went up.
The sets looked professional, and the songs were perfect. In the final confrontation when Nicky Cruz was threatening to stab Wilkerson, you could hear a pin drop, and everyone was holding their breath. When Nicky dropped the knife, there was an audible sigh from the audience.
Overheard, “If I had known this was going to be as good as an Off Broadway show, I would have invited more of my friends.” So, we decided to do it again another three performances.
There were elders waiting in the aisles to pray with people who wanted to accept Christ, and the young Hawaiian guy who played Nicky Cruz went on to be a pastor, and was actually pastor at our church Kalihi Union Church.