The Friends University Division of Fine Arts is pleased to present “Cotton Patch Gospel,” with music, lyrics and score by popular composer/singer Harry Chapin and book by Tom Key and Russell Treyz.
It’s the “Greatest Story Ever Retold” based on “The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John” by Clarence Jordan in which the Gospel is placed in a rural Georgia setting with country and bluegrass style music that represents Chapin’s final, and perhaps finest, music. As this retelling of the Gospel begins, Herod is governor of Georgia, and the locals are singing: “Somethin’s a-brewin’ in Gainesville.” When a young man comes into the world to get things right side up by telling everybody to “Turn It Around,” both religious and political leaders conspire against him and inevitably hire thugs to get rid of him. When Jesus is lynched, however, he just can’t remain dead.
Drama critics love this show as do a broad spectrum of religious commentators. The show has been called “a breath of fresh air” and “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 magazine). “Entertaining and inspiring, it will lift your spirits and renew your hope,” (Long Island Catholic newspaper). Cotton Patch Gospel is a “rollicking, foot-stomping, hand-clapping ... musical,” (The Messenger newspaper).
Performance dates and times are Jan. 22-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students with ID.