The Georgia-based Cotton Patch Gospel ends its fifth appearance in the state with the close of Theatrical Outfit's production Aug. 29. Gospel co-writer and Theatrical Outfit's artistic director Tom Key stars.
Cotton Patch Gospel, a blues-grass and gospel scored musical, moves the Bible story of Jesus to 20th Century Georgia with Gainesville as Bethlehem, Valdosta as Nazareth and Atlanta as Jerusalem. Key co wrote the piece with Russell Treyz, based on Dr. Clarence Jordan's paraphrase "The Cotton Patch Gospels of Matthew and John" and with music and lyrics by Harry Chapin. Gospel had its debut in 1981 at the Lamb's Theatre in New York City.
Chapin, a well-known folk/pop singer, had several hits ("Taxi," "Cats In The Cradle," "WOLD") before dying in a Long Island car accident. His tunes for Gospel include "I Did It," "Sho' Nuff," "One More Tomorrow," "You Are Still My Boy" and "Jubilation."
Starring in this Gospel are co-writer Key in more than 20 roles with Crystal Fox (Everybody's Ruby) as the Narrator. Serving among the ten person choir and ensemble are Bernardine Mitchell, Charles Bullock, Abe Clark, L'tanya Moore, Laparee Young and Geoffrey Williams. The blue-grass band who play the disciples include Paul Carpenter, Greg Earnest, Buck Peacock and Jim Tolles.
Tickets are $36-$12 and available by calling the Rialto Center box office at (404) 651-4727. The Rialto Center for the Performing Arts is located at 80 Forsyth Street. *
The rest of Theatrical Outfit's season will include Linda Stephens as Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst (Sept. 22-26) and Athol Fugard's Master Harold...and the Boys (Nov. 3-21).
-- By Christine Ehren