Bluefield University in the News


by | Mar 27, 2015

Bluefield College Theatre will present the inspirational musical Cotton Patch Gospel, Thursday through Sunday, April 9-12, as part of the school’s month-long Celebration of Appalachia.
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Grounded in scripture from the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, the performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, all inside BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium. Admission for each performance will be $10 for adults and $5 for non-BC students and senior citizens.


Written by Christian actor Tom Key with songs composed by the late Harry Chapin, Cotton Patch Gospel is based on the book of the same name written by Clarence Jordan. Jordan translated the Gospel of Matthew and Luke and the scriptures that tell the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the original Greek language, but in an entirely different setting. His setting for Cotton Patch Gospel and the story of Jesus: the state of Georgia at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.


“This play is filled with humor,” said BC theatre professor Charles Reese, “but presents the drama of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion with great truth and poignancy.”


The play challenges viewers to ask or consider, “What if Jesus had come during the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement instead of the oppressive Roman occupation of Palestine? What if he had been born in a backwoods Georgia town instead of a Bethlehem stable? Would the Gospel look any different?”


“It’s a joyful and inspiring re-examination of The Good News,” added Reese.


The Bluefield College cast for Cotton Patch Gospel features 2014 theatre graduate Bobby Hall as Jesus and an ensemble of 10 other actors, including Christian Barham, David Bell, Virginia Bird, Megan Moore, Kara Neal, Matthew Newman, Heather Sharp, Madeline Surles, Ty Tatum, and Brittany Walters, theatre students who all play Jesus’ disciples among various other roles in the story.


The production is directed by Reese and his wife, Rebecca McCoy-Reese, also a theatre professor at BC. Music is directed by Hall, and set design provided by 2011 theatre alumna Patti Goebel. For more information, contact the Reeses by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 276-326-4244 or 276-326-4213.


BC Theatre’s presentation of Cotton Patch Gospel is just one of many events in in its month-long Celebration of Appalachia. Designed to honor the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia with music, theatre, art, crafts, cuisine, literature and discourse, the Celebration of Appalachia includes the theatre production, two art shows, a writing contest, three book readings, a daylong festival with bluegrass music, vendors, storytelling, free health screenings from sponsor Clinch Valley Medical Center, a bagpipe demonstration, four lectures, an historical tour, the debut of the school’s 2015 Bluestone Review, and a concert on the campus lawn. For more information about the April Celebration of Appalachia, visit, email [email protected], or call 276-326-4212.

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