When locals think of the March family dynasty, it’s usually funeral processions and tombs that first come to mind.
Now, Erich March seeks to bring another meaning to tomb— one held most sacred by many— in the form of a stage play that he has produced through his March Productions company.
“Being in the funeral business, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to attend Jesus’ funeral, if he had had one,” said March, whose family has owned and operated the March Funeral
Homes in Baltimore for more than a half-century. “Who would be there and why? What would be said about him publicly and whispered quietly.”
On April 7-8, March will bring his gospel musical, “In the Tomb: The Resurrection from the Inside Out,” to Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Auditorium on the campus of Mercy High School. Featuring actor and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member Ken Alston Jr., and opera singer and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity member Robert L. Cooper, the three-act show has been billed as the first stage play of its kind to give a voice to Jesus’ closest followers and those who would be responsible for his death.
Written by March, directed by LaSonia King with musical director Bishop John Washington, “In the Tomb” takes audiences on a journey into the past to understand those closest to Jesus as they
cope with his death and ultimately learn the power of God’s love.
“The play is true to the Bible, in that the characters are true to their roles in the story of the death and resurrection. Each character has a story to tell and a song to sing,” he said.
They all gather in the tomb of Jesus, thus the title. Some are there to mourn his death, but some are there to make sure he’s dead, March noted.
A funeral director for 45 years, March says he has always been a writer and took creative writing in college. He wrote for and edited a community newsletter while in school and has written
articles, which have been published in funeral industry journals and local newspapers.
“The gospel musical, ‘In the Tomb,’ I wrote the play and most of the lyrics. “I collaborated with a very talented composer by the name of Bishop John D. Washington to create a spirit-filled
gospel,” said March of the play’s production numbers, to which he has written most of the lyrics.
“In my line of work and the emotions I encounter every day, I try to channel a lot of the human condition into my creative relief. My faith is a big influence,” he said, noting that it’s the second time the play will hit the stage in Baltimore. “I am committed to Baltimore, [and] we have a lot of talent here, especially talented young people that need to find support and encouragement,” March said.
The production is Broadway quality and the crew will take it on tour, according to March.
“In two sentences, ‘In the Tomb’ will make you cry, laugh and give God praise,” he said. “It will give you hope.”
For tickets and a schedule for “In the Tomb,” visit http://www.inthetomb.com/