Alexander Rostovtsev was a popular comedian and matinee idol in Russia years ago. He was enlisted to play the part of Jesus in a blasphemous comedy titled “Christ in a Fur”. The first act showed the inside of a church building where the altar was like a bar displaying various liquors. Attendees dressed as nuns or clergy were at gambling tables or even staggering around nearly drunk. Rostovtsev had a reputation for being a sneering enemy of Christ, a disciple of Marx and an avowed opponent of Christianity. His part was to begin with the reading of the first two verses of Matthew 5 and then throw off his oriental robe and shout, “Give me instead my furs and top hat!”
He read the first verse. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Then he suddenly stopped as if paralyzed. The audience that had roared and cheered when he walked onto the stage were now gripped with an uneasy silence. The actor’s body was shaking. He started reading again, and kept on reading out loud. Back stage the prompter tried to get his attention so they could urge him to follow the script, but to no avail. He read to the end of the chapter and then cried out, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Management lowered the curtain, cancelled the rest of the performance and announced that Rostovtsev had suddenly become very ill. It is more likely that he had suddenly found spiritual health. He was not heard from again.
Sources: Feb. 14, 1964 devotional article in Our Daily Bread, Richard Wurmbrand’s book “Tortured for Christ”, and the internet.