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Hollywood actor brings show to St. Joseph

Do the names Steve Andropoulos, Michael Donnelly, Simon Romero or Brooks Tapman mean anything to you?

How about Ed McClain, Jovan Dmytryk, Detective Marty Lowery or Pierre Lyon?

If so, mark your calendar. All of these soap opera and major motion picture characters will arrive in Ironton this weekend.

And they are all personified in one man whose real name is Frank Runyeon.

Runyeon appeared as Andropoulos on “As the World Turns” for seven years, opposite Meg Ryan. He then spent four years as Donnelly on “Santa Barbara” before moving on to other scripts, including “General Hospital”, “L.A. Law”, “Falcon Crest” and “Melrose Place”.

He appeared on the silver screen as Lowery in “Sudden Death”, and Lyon in “Bolero”, as well as in regional and New York stage.

Somewhere along the line, however, he switched gears, leaving the soaps and stage behind in favor of the open road.

Now, he travels the country blending his acting talents with a modest helping of faith. Somehow, he even finds time to pursue his doctorate in Biblical Studies.

On Saturday, Feb.6, the former Princeton University religion major and General Theological Seminary master’s grad will bring his one man show to St. Joseph Church to perform AFRAID! The Gospel of Mark as part of the Super Mission 2010 initiative.

The following Monday, Runyeon will act out one of Christianity’s most popular biblical references, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

By engaging the crowd in the “here and now,” as his Web site states, Runyeon attempts to allow each individual to experience how it might have felt to live while Jesus walked the earth in human form…and also to ponder whether they would have had the guts to lay down their lives and follow this man solely on His promise of salvation.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, in a segment entitled Hollywood vs. Faith, the seasoned thespian will wrap up his Ironton gig by discussing the struggles of living a Christian life in a high profile culture mostly devoid of values.

“We were looking for someone to do a mission before Lent,” explained Jane Rudmann, an activist and instructor in the church. “We thought this would be interesting; a new perspective,” she added.

Rudmann, along with Father David Huffman, researched Runyeon’s Web site and sent him an email, to which he quickly responded via telephone.

Soon afterward, Runyeon committed to bring his show to southern Ohio.

Rudmann noted that although she hasn’t seen his performances, Runyeon’s reviews are superb.

“People Magazine did an article on him and said he was fabulous,” she said. “Everyone raves over the job he does.”

Runyeon will also be speaking at the Saturday evening and Sunday Masses at St. Joseph and St. Lawrence Churches, and will present to the Catholic schools on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.

To learn more about Runyeon and his one man show, visit his Web site at www.frankrunyeon.com.

These performances are being financed by St. Joseph Church and are free to the public.

“Father (Huffman) wanted everybody to be able to come,” Rudmann said. “Everybody is welcome.”