Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Cotton Patch Gospel" on stage in Cheyenne Oct. 12-14 and 19-21

Randy Oestman, our one-time colleague at the Wyoming Arts Council and now a minister at Cheyenne's Vineyard Church, is presenting a musical production, "Cotton Patch Gospel," October 12-14 and 19-21.  

The"Cotton Patch Gospel" as a translation of most of the New Testament by ClarenceJordan, who was a Baptist minister in Georgia. Jordan's goal was to communicate the New Testament in the idiom of the South so that "plain folks" could better understand it. To do this, Jordan, who worked from Greek texts, changed both the setting and the language of the New Testament. For example, John the Baptist conducts baptisms in the Chattahoochee River, the disciple Peter is given a "Yankee"accent, and Jesus is born in Gainesville, Georgia. Also, Jesus makes such statements as "Come to me, all of you who are frustrated and have had a bellyful, and I will give you zest" (as opposed to the Matthew 11:28 verse, traditionally translated from the Greek as "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest").

The musical "Cotton Patch Gospel" was written in 1982, by Atlanta-based actor Tom Key and stage director Russell Treyz.  It was based on Jordan's version of the Gospels of Matthew and John . The popular music songwriter Harry Chapin collaborated with Key and Treyz on the adaptation, which they completed in June 1981, one month before Chapin was killed in an automobile accident. Three months later the musical opened off-Broadway and had a successful run; it has since been performed in numerous venues. 

This local presentation produced by the Cheyenne Vineyard Church includes a combo of guitar, banjo, upright bass, harmonica and lively vocals brought to the stage by Kevin Guille, Pastor Kevin Uhrich, Jerry Gallegos, Bob Fontaine, Brad Eddy and Randy Oestman.  Both Kevins have completed the process of adopting while rehearsing this show! The production's country songs move the characters through the stages of Jesus' earthly ministry, most of which written to have occurred in Georgia. Like Jordan's original, the musical adaptation is intended to offer people a fresh perspective on Jesus's life and provide a modern twist on the Gospel message.

While it is urged that cost of admission be food goods, people who cannot bring food are encouraged to attend this uplifting and lively re-telling of the Gospel. 

People must call 307- 638-8700 to reserve a seat for this production because seats will fill up quickly.

DATES: OCTOBER 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21
TIME: 7 PM on 12, 13,19, 20; 2 PM on 14 & 21
CONTACT:  RANDY OESTMAN, 307-638-8700,

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