G.K. Chesterton Entertainment’s focus is on depicting the lives of historical figures who have boldly testified to their faith in their words and actions and risen above the norms of society in the times in which they lived. At GKCE, we work to tell the stories about those who were living lives as ordinary people, doing extraordinary things for the greater good. In so doing, it is our purpose, and our hope, to ennoble and enrich the human spirit in all that we do.
In 2009, playwright, Cathal Gallagher and his son, Peter, founded G.K. Chesterton Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Cathal and Peter both understood that audiences feel drawn to characters who stand up for their personal beliefs and principles, even at great personal cost.
The Company’s first production was Malcom and Teresa, a play recounting Malcolm Muggeridge’s spiritual journey which began after interviewing Saint Mother Teresa.
In 2010, Maria Vargo was invited to direct An Act of Reparation, the story of Blessed Franz Jagerstatter. An Austrian Farmer, Jagerstatter refused to fight with the Nazis during World War II due to his strong religious convictions.strian Farmer who refused to fight with the Nazis during World War II due to his strong religious convictions.
Following the play, Maria was invited to become the company's Artistic Director, where she oversaw four more productions including Claude Newman, the story of the miraculous conversion of a Mississippi man on death row, and Viva Cristo Rey, a play recounting the life of Mexican martyr Blessed Miguel Pro.
In 2013, Maria was cast as Saint Faustina in a one-woman show titled Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy. The role meant a hiatus from G.K. Chesterton Entertainment as she toured for performances throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2019, Maria was able to acquire and reinvigorate the company. She and her G.K. Chesterton associates successfully raised funds for a live passion play, written and directed by Maria and Jonathan Roumie (Maria and Jonathan began their creative partnership in 2014 as actors in Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy).
Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that live performances of The Last Days had to be canceled in 2020. However, a filmed version of the production was made available for streaming and DVD purchase.
In the Fall of 2020, the company’s name was changed to G.K. Chesterton Entertainment to reflect the board’s desire to expand beyond theatre in an effort to reach as many people as possible. In 2022, GKCE began production of a short film series, Momenta Sacra.
Viva Cristo Rey is a two-act play by Cathal Gallagher and Fred Martinez and was produced by The G.K. Chesterton Theatre Company in 2011 in Los Angeles and directed by Angel Duran.
In Mexico in the 1920's, religion was suppressed. People were forbidden to worship freely. Severe penalties, from imprisonment to death, were imposed for clandestine worship. Although the repression was widespread, the world took little notice. A veil of silence descended.
Into this turmoil entered an unassuming, guitar playing Padre. He set out to minister to his flock, going from house to house, pursued by government agents. In a very short time he would become a world wide figure. His name was Miguel Pro.
Claude Newman is a two-act play by Cathal Gallagher, produced by G.K. Chesterton Theatre Company in 2012 and directed by Maria Vargo.
Two prisoners on death row get into an argument over a religious medal. The owner of the medal flings it at his fellow inmate (Claude Newman), telling him to “take the thing.” Newman picks up the medal, attaches it to a string, and puts it around his neck. During the night he is awakened by a touch on his wrist. And there stands, as Claude later told the chaplain, “the most beautiful woman God ever created.” The most beautiful woman was the Virgin Mary.
Too good to be true? The chaplain certainly thought so. And he had good reason to be skeptical: none of Newman's cell mates saw or heard anything. Death row prisoners seeking legal redress have also been known to “get religion.” But Newman revealed something to the chaplain that could not be known by natural means. It had to do with a vow the chaplain took three years earlier. What was the vow? It's in the play. Suffice it to say that this revelation, plus the change wrought in Newman's character, made a believer of the chaplain.
The chaplain, Father Robert O'Leary, left an audio tape accounting the events. Gallagher relied primarily on this recording when writing the playscript, using dramatic license to fill in the gaps or where facts are in dispute.
An Act of Reparation is a two-act play by Cathal Gallagher, produced by G.K. Chesterton Theatre Company in 2010 in Los Angeles and directed by Maria Vargo.
Franz Jagerstatter was born in St. Radegund, Austria in 1907. He was the illegitimate son of Rosalia Huber and Franz Bachmeier, who was killed in the First World War. Franz's mother later married a man named Heinrich Jagerstatter.
As a young adult, Franz acquired a reputation for being wild and reckless. He was a member of the village gang and spent time in jail.
In 1936, Franz married Franziska Schwaningner. They had three children and lived on his mother's farm. During the 1938 Anchluss referendum on the annexation of Austria by the German Reich, Franz was the sole person in his village to vote against it.
Franz was inducted into the German army soon after. He reported to the Induction Center, but refused to do military service because of his religious views. He was held in military prison, first in Linz, Austria, and later Berlin.
Franz was sentenced to death by a military tribunal and executed by guillotine on August 9, 1943. He was 36 years old.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Maria Vargo is a Hollywood-based actress, singer-songwriter, director, and Christian speaker. She is the president and artistic director of G.K. Chesterton Entertainment, a faith-based, non-profit entertainment company. Maria starred as St. Faustina in a one-woman show, performing over 300 times across America and Canada. A film version of the show is set to be released in the near future. Her passion for music has led to producing an original CD titled Fire Tries Iron, and a Christmas CD titled Coming Home For Christmas.
The potential for multiplying God’s reach through GKCE’s work is endless, and we are excited about the possibilities!
Our goal is to enlighten the hearts and minds of as many people as we are able to reach around the world with GKCE’s Momenta Sacra series. We are in ongoing discussions with Christian broadcasting platforms in the hope that we can televise Momenta Sacra episodes, similar to how we aired The Last Days and our Lenten Reflections on EWTN. Ultimately, we plan to make the series available for private programs at parishes and Christian organizations.
If you feel called to contribute to GKCE’s Momenta Sacra project, click the donate button (add link) to contribute a suggested amount, or whatever you feel moved to gift. We offer our sincere thanks for your generous support—the impact of your contribution will be immeasurable. God bless you.