Cotton Patch Gospel, the Harry Chapin musical, will end its fifth Georgia appearance when Theatrical Outfit's production closes Aug. 29. Gospel co-writer and Theatrical Outfit's artistic director Tom Key star in the production.
Cotton Patch Gospel, a blues-grass and gospel scored musical, moves the Bible story of Jesus to the 20th Century South 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 folk singer Harry Chapin. Gospel had its debut in 1981 at the Lamb's Theatre in New York City.
Chapin had several hits ("Cat's in the Cradle," "Taxi," "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."
Along with Key, Gospel stars 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 range from $12-$36 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 includes 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 Sean McGrath