Prince William Little Theatre Tackles the Cotton Patch GospelBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 18th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Prince William Little Theatre’s production of the Cotton Patch Gospel [MP3 4:16 1.2MB].
Mike: Cotton Patch Gospel is a musical. The book was by Tom Key and Russell Treyz, with music and lyrics by Harry Chapin. This is based on the Cotton Patch version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan. This is the contemporary telling of the Gospel story taking place down in contemporary Georgia.
Laura: The cast of Cotton Patch Gospel really worked hard on this musical. They had a lot of fun with it. I had a lot of fun with it. I clapped and sang along. I enjoyed myself very much and I really had a very relaxing afternoon yesterday.
Mike: This was a good performance. The cast was enormous. The playbill showed 39 people in the cast and there was also the Cotton Patch Gospel Band conducted by Milton Rodgers. That was really nice. They played a few numbers before the show began. That kind of kept everybody settled while they were filtering into the church.
Laura: The role of the Narrator and Mary was played by Molly Elston. I really enjoyed watching her. She was very expresssive. She came across with a nice strong voice that could be heard over the auditorium. She really looked like she was having a lot of fun up there.
Mike: The role of Jesus was played by Brian Field. He did a good job with the songs he had to sing. I especially liked the duet he had to sing at the end of the first act with Jud, Going to Atlanta. That was a great song. He was very approachable, definitely felt like a friend of all the other cast members.
Laura: Jesus’s brother, Jud, and one of the disciples was played by Drew Prendergast. I really liked watching him because I liked watching the change that came over him throughout the performance. He went from following along, being excited about being one of Jesus’ disciples to becoming frustrated that Jesus wasn’t taking enough action. He was the equivalent of Judas Iscariot and again I liked the song that he and Jesus did towards the end of the first act. That was really a powerful song. They both have really nice voices and that just really carried through.
Mike: This was an enormous cast. Most of the actors had more than one role to play and since this was taking place at the Grace United Methodist Church, there weren’t any wings for the cast to be waiting. So they would simply sit off to the side of the stage and change their hat or some of their costuming a little bit to be ready for their next entrance as their new character. That was really quite effective. I thought it would be very distracting, but it really wasn’t. There were a couple times when they had to pass props over their heads to get them offstage, but otherwise you really didn’t realize that they were over there.
Laura: The costumes for Cotton Patch Gospel were very colorful, very bright, very comfortable looking. The costumer was Susy Moorstein. One of the ladies before the performance began was talking to someone and saying that these were all vintage dresses. So I thought that was a really nice touch.
Mike: One problem with the show was whenever there was a group of people singing the sound really got muddled. When there were individuals singing or even duets, it was ok. But once you got a whole bunch of people singing that didn’t all have microphones, I think it just kind of washed out. The sound was really hard to hear. So there were a few songs that I really didn’t quite understand all of the lyrics. That was disappointing. It really was a hard room to do that with since it was a church with a very tall ceiling and a very wide room. Most of the time the sound was pretty clear.
Laura: The Cotton Patch Gospel is playing though January 28th at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas, Virginia, Friday and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2 PM.
Mike: We encourage you to go see this show. Once you’ve seen this show, feel free to leave your thoughts about it here at ShowBizRadio.net. We’d also like to invite you to join our mailing list. It will help you stay informed about everything going on in the DC metro region.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.