Tabernacle Presbyterian Church recently hosted the premiere of an original “sermon opera” “And the Word Was” by well-known Indianapolis playwright and actress Ethel Brewster-McCane.
The PraiseStage Productions Theatre Company production was presented at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, 418 E. 34th St.
However, McCane, executive director of PraiseStage, noted that the cast of performers came from congregations all over the city.
PraiseStage is a multicultural, interdenominational company which offers the opportunity to gain experience and training in theatre arts, which also conducts a “Traveling Training Camp” for area youth and church groups. For more information, see praisestage.org.
Following is a list of “And the Word Was” cast and crew members: Moderators were Auston Edmond for the 2 p.m. production, and Minister Mary Thomas for the 6 p.m. show. Rev. Marilyn Wilson-Jenkins was the narrator.
The audience enjoyed the musical accompaniment of Ezra Bufford, keyboards; Lester Johnson, bass; and Keith Strong, drums.
The story of the Prodigal Son won laughter from the audience. Charlie Watson, the Prodigal Son, appeared onstage first in a red zoot-suit, but then later in rags; along with his forgiving, longsuffering father in a bathrobe, Henry Carter.
Lonnie Watson gave stirring performances of “Go Down, Moses” and “Once I was blind…”
Alonzo Graham played Samson, losing his long locks after an unwise decision to take a nap on the lap of the beauteous Delilah (Kim Mays), abetted in her scheme by sexy dancer Barbara Edmond. William Smith and Andrew Crowe were the Philistine soldiers who took Samson away, once he had been snatched bald by his treacherous spouse.
Angelia Dickerson gave a well-received rendition of “Water and the Living Water.” While Annamaria Crider sang and acted in “Jesus Met the Woman” and “Accused by Whom?”
Rhoda Tunstell gave a moving performance as the woman “Healed by a Touch;” and Annetta Willis and Shawna Coleman played the bereaved Martha and Mary in “Lazarus Come Forth.”
Joyce Carter brought the story of the woman with the “Alabaster Box” to life, while McCane was “A Witness at the Crucifixion.”
Tracy Ramsey invited the audience to listen to a message “Of Honor and Humbleness” while Scott United Methodist Senior Pastor, Rev. James Anyike, related “On the Road to Damascus.”
Closing it out, Damon McCane presented, “I Don’t Know About Tomorrow.”
The entire cast presented a lively finale that had the audience on its collective feet.
The stage director was Damon McCane, assisted by Elizabeth Ray, Angelia Dickerson, and Sherryl Johnson. The house manager was Gregory Edmond, box office staff was Elizabeth Parker and Sandra Arnold; and dance choreographer was Dountonia Slack. Ushers were Delosie Bryant and Connie Dumas-Coleman, with cast food service from Bonita Miles-Gupton. Security was handled by Benjamin Barlow, and costume consultants were Barbara Edmond and Annamaria Crider. Contributing donors included Mazine Gilliam, Jeanie Roper, Trand Lane, Janice Blair, Mildred Nelson, Rev. and Mrs. Charles Smith, Rev. Marvin Chandler, and Inez Fox, of Wiley United Methodist Church of New Castle.