This has been the year of the carpenter at Ragtown, it seems. At the risk of some confusion, we staged “The Carpenter’s Son” earlier this year, and I released a new song entitled “Hands of a Carpenter,” and now we have just begun our new Christmas production of the musical, “Joseph the Carpenter.” Lots of carpentry.
This is a story I shared with our audience last weekend. I’m taking it as evidence that the Lord is still right in the middle of what’s happening at Ragtown.
Glenn and I had decided to stage this new musical version of our play, “Joseph the Carpenter,” in part because we had a great guy to play Joseph. Chris Smith, who had portrayed Jesus for us in “Bethlehem,” and Cornelius Houchen in “Say Nicklaus,” is both a gifted actor and singer. More importantly, Chris has a heart fully devoted to God, and that shows through in every role he does.
Well, as “Gates of Paradise” was winding down, and Glenn began preparing for “Joseph,” Chris had a career change opportunity, and his training as a firefighter wouldn’t accommodate nightly rehearsals and weekend performances. When he told us, Glenn’s hair got even whiter, and I think some more of mine fell out. We didn’t have a Joseph, and rehearsals were scheduled to begin.
But the Lord had a plan.
Robin and I were doing a little grocery shopping after church one Sunday, and I heard a a man call my name. I turned around and he looked like Jesus. I mean…just like Jesus…
But then he said, “I’m Caylen Boyles.” Caylen had been in one of our early productions just before he left to go to college. Just a splendid young man. A wonderful man of faith, and a willing heart. A man just like Joseph.
I didn’t even say hello. I just asked, “Can you sing?”
The answer is…oh my, yes. And he is a truly gifted actor as well. Paired with Kacy Wheeler as Mary, we have a pretty perfect Joseph and Mary for this special production. Jay Young does a remarkable job as Joseph’s protective brother, Clopas. Ronald and Nancy Thuett steal the show as the bossy Rowena and her beleagered husband, Ephriam. Glenn Polk is just wonderful as the angel Gabriel.
We’re doing Friday evening shows as well as our regular Saturday matinees for this special production. “Joseph the Carpenter, A Christmas Musical” runs through December 17th, but make your plans to come as soon as you can, before your holiday schedule gets too hectic.
Oh, and by the way, I’m doing a special Christmas concert that features, what else… “Hands of a Carpenter.”
Can’t want to see you at Ragtown!