A group of mainly local performers will storm the stage of Springfield’s Hoogland Center on March 3-5 and 10-12 as Ken Bradbury takes his production of “Cotton Patch Gospel” on a bluegrass version of the Gospel of Matthew. Bradbury directs and performs in this Harry Chapin bluegrass musical based on the Gospel of Matthew featuring Nathan Carls, Carrie Carls, Greg Floyd, Rob Killam, Barry Cloyd, Mark Mathewson, Danny Mclaughlin, and Gabe Woodruff.
“Cotton Patch Gospel” was the last work of songwriter Harry Chapin just before his untimely death in 1981. Based on Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch Gospel series, the musical is a modern retelling of the life of Jesus, set in rural Georgia.
“You seldom see this show performed,” said Bradbury, “since it requires nearly all the actors to play their own musical accompaniment onstage. It’s tough to find good actors who can do that or talented musicians with stage experience.” Rich McCoy, production coordinator for the show, said, “It’s a very unique script. It’s hilarious but it packs a real emotional punch. Ken’s found some of the finest performers in our area to pull this one off and I think audiences are really going to enjoy it.”
The story begins with a young couple, Mary and Joe Davidson who find they are to have a child before they’re married. An angel visits Joe and tells him this is the will of God and that he should give the girl his letter jacket and marry her. On their way to Gainesville, Georgia, for an income tax audit she goes into labor, but there’s no room for them at the Dixie Delight Motor Lodge so they break into an abandoned trailer outback where the baby Jesus is born. They wrap him in a comforter and lay him in an apple crate. He’s baptized by a wild preacher named John the Baptizer and begins his ministry of teaching and healing. After gathering together a group of followers they head off to Atlanta with a mixed air of excitement and foreboding.
For tickets, contact HCFTA.ORG or call 217.523.2787