By Doc Lawrence
The graves of Jordan and his wife are on a Koinonia hill. When you enter the farm, there’s a sign that says Koinonia is the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. The mission of Jordan and his followers lives on.
I interviewed Tom Kay, the creator of the stage production back in the 1990’s and learned that everything audiences enjoy from the musical is the direct result of inspiration. The story is true to the life of Jesus. Key, a playwright and actor is also a native of Birmingham. He used Jordan’s colorful substitutions of places and people, and Harry Chapin added a bluegrass gospel score. The result is a highly entertaining two hours that appeals to audiences from Broadway to London. On an Easter afternoon, I took my late mother to see it at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and remember her smiles and laughter.
Unlike Jesus Christ Superstar, another Broadway/Hollywood hit, Cotton Patch Gospel is consistently uplifting with all the energy of those revivals and outdoor singings I recall from my baby days around country churches. Gospel music buoys the sagging soul and lifts the poor in spirit. What we lacked in material things were replaced with the joyous voices and harmonies celebrating the birth, life, death and resurrection. And everything was fun.
|Tom Key is a Birmingham Native|
Critics everywhere praise Cotton Patch Gospel. The story is everlasting. And who said that the greatest story ever told couldn’t entertain? My Alabama-born mother, as devout a Christian as possible, loved every second of this live stage wonder.
|Where Cotton Patch was Born|
And so will you.
Union Springs, a charming and very friendly city, is an easy drive from Montgomery or Atlanta. And it’s very close to Koinonia. Red Door Theatre is in an old church, just perfect for Cotton Patch Gospel. Four performances are offered: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 24-26, 2014,
Contact (334) 738-8687. www.reddoortheatre.org
Mother’s Day is near. Remember her with a gift that lasts. Southern Thymes Shared, the new hardcover cookbook with wine pairings looks wonderful on a coffee table and she will love the recipes and stories. Available at Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere. Details: http://southwindjourneys.com/assets/southern-thymes.pdf