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44. Cotton Patch Gospel

Gregg Irwin
Musical Director: Bette Dale Moore

Eric Ellis
Bob Ecker
Doug Brinkman
Doug Clemens
Jonathan Perry
Marylin Holly
Bette Dale Moore
Michele White
Cyndi Rogers

Chicken Dinner Road

Dennis Stokes - Mandolin/Guitar

 - Guitar/Mandolin

Gary Eller - Banjo/Guitar

Curt Bedell - Bass

$9 in advance / $12 at the door
February 24th @ 7:30pm
February 25th @ 2:00pm
February 25th @ 7:30pm
March 2nd @ 7:30pm
March 3rd @ 2:00pm
March 3rd @ 7:30pm

This "Greatest Story Ever Retold" is based on the book The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan in which the Gospel is presented in a setting of rural Georgia with country music songs, the final and perhaps best work of Harry Chapin. As this Gospel begins, they sing that "Somethin's brewin' in Gainesville." Herod is the mayor of Atlanta and, inevitably, Christ is lynched by local thugs only to rise again. Drama critics loved this show and so did a broad spectrum of religious commentators.

A dream come true. A breath of fresh air. Something good is happening. A reverential retelling of the book of Matthew. It takes the Bible's passionate intensity and directness for contemporary meaning into the popular vein without diluting it. —Contemporary Christian Music

Powerful drama and a joyous celebration. This musical succeeds mightily. —The Episcopalian

The show offers a vivid witness. This is the Gospel. —The American Baptist Magazine

Entertaining and inspiring, it will lift your spirits and renew your hope. —The Long Island Catholic

Rollicking, foot-stomping, hand-clapping new musical. —The Messenger

BACKGROUND (... from Wikipedia)

Between 1968 and 1973, Dr. Clarence Jordan, a Southern Baptist minister, published four books where he translated the New Testament into colloquial Southern language. These "Cotton Patch" versions were brought to the attention of Tom Key, an Atlanta actor and playwright, when he was contemplating a play that would transplant the story of Jesus into the mid-20th century American South. Jordan's versions already featured the Southernized Christ that Key was thinking of. Jesus Davidson was born in the town of Gainesville, Georgia, and was laid in an apple crate. He was baptized in the Chattahoochee River, he preached to a crowd of thousands on Stone Mountain, and he met his end in Atlanta. Key built upon Jordan's work, making additions and changes such as the decision to have Jesus lynched rather than crucified.

With Jordan's versions as his source material, Key, together with Russell Treyz, wrote the book for the stage play. The music for the production was written and composed by the legendary Harry Chapin, in what would eventually prove to be his final musical work. In all, Chapin produced 26 songs for the show, many of them in a bluegrass style befitting the play's setting.

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