The following story appeared in this afternoon’s Warsaw (IN) Times-Union newspaper.
Cotton Patch Gospel To Perform This Weekend
BY TERESA SMITH, Times-Union Staff Writer
More than 25 years ago Rick Meads attended a theatrical performance at Grace College.
He thought it looked like fun. He soon stepped on the stage and hasn’t stepped off.
Meads appears in performances of “Cotton Patch Gospel” Friday and Saturday at Rodeheaver Auditorium, which is a return to his alma matter and reunion with mentor Steve Grill.
“I was an athlete. I met Steve and was in ‘You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,’ Meads said.
Meads spent time on the Wagon Wheel Theatre stage and graduated with a master’s in divinity from Grace Seminary.
Initially joining the Lamb’s Players Theatre company in San Diego, Calif., he has embarked on an independent theatrical career, performing all over the country in various productions as actor and director.
He looks forward to this weekend and urges folks to attend.
“This is Broadway-caliber theatre, the show is that good,” he said. Meads will appear with Ryan Drummond, Mark Christopher Lawrence and the 7th Day Buskers, a San Diego-based band.
‘Cotton Patch Gospel’ began as a one-man show adapted from Clarence Jordan’s book, “The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John.”
Jordan decided that many people saw the gospel story as an old, dusty thing, too removed from present day to be interesting. Jordan set the New Testament story of the Bible in his own time, culture and geography – the American South – and regular people started listening to an old story with new ears.
Actor Tom Key adapted Jordan’s work into a one-man show. Then the production captured the imagination of singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, who added music. More actors were included and the play enjoyed a successful run in New York.
The show is unique, Meads said. “It’s very folksy and interesting, a lot of fun. There’s clogging’ and bluegrass performed by a great band.”
The actors take assume the roles of many characters.
Meads, originally from Michigan, performed at Grace in March. He likes making the trip because his family still lives in the Grand Rapids area and it’s an opportunity to see them.
“There’s no better place to be in the fall than the Midwest. It’s my favorite season.”
Friday and Saturday’s performances begin at 7:30 p.m. The musical, sponsored by Grace College and the Village at Winona, is free and open to the public.