Alumni News

From the UVF Stage to a Film Set

by Sarah Cushing - University Communications | Dec 07, 2016
Josh Lehman '06
Joshua Lehman ’06 walked off the University of Valley Forge (UVF) campus with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance in hand and ready to follow his vocational calling in music and acting. Over the past ten years, Lehman has studied music at the graduate level, taught private lessons and performed in musical theater. He has performed with Sight & Sound Theatres and currently performs at the Bird-in-Hand Stage in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. In early January 2016, Lehman performed a role in the short film “Carry Me Home: A Remember America Film,” written and directed by Josh Henry and produced by LampHouse Films.   

“Carry Me Home” tells the true story of Maria and Stephen Ennals, a wife and husband who escaped slavery with their three children under the guidance of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Tubman helped the Ennals escape in 1860, traveling from Maryland to New York, on what became her last mission. Lehman played the role of an anti-abolitionist. Lehman’s scene was filmed at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson, Pennsylvania, which models a 19th century rural iron plantation. Lehman entered his scene riding a horse, clothed in representative 1860s attire: a white shirt, brown pants and a mid-thigh length coat. He wore a solemn face as his character confronted Tubman, played by Karen Abercrombie – who most recently acted in the feature film “War Room” – on route to freedom. “It’s the perfect time for this story to be told, especially from a Christian perspective. It’s such an inspirational story,” Lehman said.

Most of Lehman's professional work has been in musical theater. He had been acting and singing on stage since childhood. He performed in church plays and high school theater then decided to pursue music in college. Lehman chose UVF for its Department of Music. At UVF he excelled in the department and gained valuable voice training under dedicated faculty. He performed with the Concert Choir and a men’s vocal ensemble, The Perfect Fifth. He also wanted to pursue his love for theater and in doing so co-founded UVF’s student drama organization, Curtain Call, with Michael Gagliardo '07, which still exists today. “Seeing that they’re still doing productions warms my heart,” Lehman said. “Michael and I had talked about how to do good theater from great literary works and find parts of the story that are edifying and align with Christian values.”  

Lehman also acted in front of the camera in educational videos, doing voiceover and on-camera work, but this was Lehman's first professional role in a short film. Transitioning from the stage to the camera proved to be exciting and challenging at the same time. In theater, Lehman was accustomed to one form of acting. “You’re taught about living in the moment and reacting naturally with your scene partner,” he explained. Film acting often requires actors to react naturally without a scene partner. While Lehman acted opposite Abercrombie during the director’s shots of Abercrombie’s lines and reactions, when it came to filming Lehman’s lines and reactions he acted opposite the camera and the director as a stand-in Tubman. “As an actor, I had to think about the greater picture, not just one scene,” Lehman said. At the end, Lehman was happy with the final cut and grateful for the opportunity to try another acting medium. 

The short film has received positive feedback and recognition. It won the “Home Grown” film award in the Lancaster International Short Film Festival and was accepted into the NYC Indie Film Awards. The short film is currently playing in select theaters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The production team hopes to expand the project into a feature-length film.
 
Check out Lehman’s past acting credits and future projects at joshualehman.net.
 
For more information on the short film, visit harriettubman.movie.