When local residents and those that know the March family think of tombs, it’s a given that the clans’ line of funeral homes would immediately 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’s 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 and 8, March brings his gospel musical “In the Tomb: The Resurrection from the Inside Out,” which features actor and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member Ken Alston Jr. and opera singer and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity member Robert L. Cooper.
The three-show engagement at the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Auditorium on the campus of Mercy High School has been billed as the first stage play of its kind to give a voice to Jesus’s closest followers and those who would be responsible for his death.
Written by March and 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, March said.
“The play is true to the Bible, in that the characters are true to their roles in the story of the death and Resurrection,” he said. “Each character has a story to tell and a song to sing.”
However, 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 said he’s always been a writer and took creative writing in college. He wrote for and edited a community newsletter while in school, and he’s written published articles in funeral industry journals and local newspapers.
“The gospel musical, ‘In the Tomb,’ I wrote the play and most of the lyrics,” he said. “I collaborated with a very talented composer, by the name of Bishop John D. Washington, to create spirit-filled gospel.
“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,” March said. “My faith is a big influence.”
March noted that it’s the second time the play will hit the stage in Baltimore.
“I am committed to Baltimore, we have a lot of talent here, especially talented young people that need to find support and encouragement,” he said.
The production is “Broadway quality” and the crew will take it on tour, March said.
“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 schedules for “In the Tomb,” visit www.inthetomb.com.