Chuck DeHoff of Camden might seem familiar to people around town. If they're wondering where they've seen him, there's a good chance it was at Calvary Assembly of God where DeHoff has played Jesus in many theatrical productions. He talks about the experience on the eve of the church's Easter show.
Chuck DeHoff has pretty much made the role of Jesus of Nazareth his own over the past few years, and it’s not just because he has played the Messiah in Easter productions of the Calvary Assembly of God.
DeHoff again will portray Jesus in “He Lives,” a dramatic presentation that mixes contemporary storylines with their Biblical inspirations. “He Lives” is being presented at the Calvary Assembly of God from Wednesday, March 31, through Sunday, April 4.
When he’s not acting, DeHoff is a chief lineman for Choptank Electric, a job he’s had for 26 years.
Both on stage and off, Christ’s life is an example DeHoff said he tries to emulate in his own daily existence.
Q How much acting experience did you have before coming to Calvary and why did you decide to take part in the productions?
A I had never wanted to do any kind of acting before I started going to Calvary with my wife. I had gone to some Christmas or Easter plays because most everyone else would go. I had gone to Calvary for three years before making a commitment to have Christ as my savior. I found that God kind of draws you into these things if you’re open to him.
Getting started, I saw a notice on a bulletin board that said they needed soldiers for a play, and while I felt the tug to do it, I kept putting it off. Then I talked to my wife and said, “I’ve got to do this,” and after about the third practice I felt a bigger tug.
I knew the Lord was calling me to give my life to him.
Q How did you get the role of Jesus and how do you prepare to play him?
A For my first two years, I played Marcus, a soldier and someone else was playing Jesus. After the third year, they opened it up; I went in, tried out and have been playing him ever since.
A lot of prayer goes into it and I don’t take this part for granted. I tell God, “I want to do this the way you want me to, to speak, act and say the words the way you want me to.”
It’s hard to explain, hard to put into words, the blessing I feel from doing this.
I have to make sure, though, that people don’t take it out of context. People have come up to me afterward and said, “I’ll follow you anywhere,” and I have to say I’m just an actor, they have to follow the real Jesus, I’m just playing him. But those comments have opened my eyes. It does humble me a lot.
Q Do people often comment on your appearance?
A No, not really. I grow my hair out and grow a beard. When I get home Sunday after the last performance, I’ll shave it off and get a trim on Monday.
I used to have my hair really long, but since I’m losing it on top now, I don’t as much.
I’ve told Angela [Coons], our creative arts director, that I’ll play Jesus as long as she and the Lord want me to do it, so at some point I may need to get a wig.
Q What do you and the others in the production hope people will take away after watching “He Lives”?
A Our main object in doing the plays is to bring people to Christ. The ideal thing for us is to see people praying and giving their lives to Christ.
Email Jeff Brown at email@example.com