Over the years, most people who attend our shows have predictably shortened Ragtown Gospel Theater to just plain Ragtown. On Saturday, August 8th, we’re opening both Ragtown…the theater, and Ragtown…the musical. I can’t wait!
It’s no secret that I like to cook, and most of the family seems to think the best thing I make is my cornbread. I bake it in a cast iron skillet, and watch it like a hawk while it’s cooking. As that puddle of mush I pour into the skillet starts to bubble, rise, and brown, the aroma starts to fill the kitchen…sort of like magic. The anticipation of that first bite is a delightful thing.
Watching Ragtown come together is something like that. I gave Glenn a big puddle of paper…about a hundred pages of mush, but all the ingredients were there. Now the set is just about finished, the cast is rehearsing in costume, the music and parts are getting better with every rehearsal, and the place is buzzing with anticipation.
You’ve probably read all about how long it’s taken us to finally stage this play. It’s hard to believe that we’re actually going to see it happen, but I’m actually glad it was delayed. It needed to come at this particular point in time.
Americans have been reeling, feeling like we’ve been attacked on several fronts, and we have been. The enemy of God and man has been busy. All of us could do with a little encouragement, and I believe Ragtown will provide that—the answer to all the fear and division we’re experiencing right now.
There’s a line from the play that has struck me every time I’ve heard Deborah Hobbs say it. Deborah is an amazing lady who has been part of our Ragtown family for some time. This is her first speaking role on the stage, and she’s just going to knock you out. She plays Sister Pearl Talley, the daughter of slaves, the widow of a traveling preacher, who has taken on her husband’s ministry on her own.
The father of one of the settlers is a disabled Confederate veteran. He has lived a long, embittered life because of the loss of an arm in the war, and the loss of his land to carpetbaggers. In part of a big, moving speech to him, Sister Pearl tells him that because they are both children of God, through faith in Jesus, they are blood relatives, brother and sister, and she doesn’t want to see her brother hurting anymore. It is a poignant part of an otherwise humorous, rollicking musical.
Deborah and I talked openly about those lines, touching on the recent events that I had no way of anticipating when I wrote them twenty years ago. I’m so touched and grateful that she was not only willing, but felt led to step far outside anything she had ever done before, in order to give Sister Pearl the heart of a genuine warrior for God.
Deborah is just one among a great cast of some very gifted people Glenn has assembled for this special production. I’m just praying that people will be willing to venture out to see it. We so need your attendance and support right now. We’ll be taking all the precautions and placing our trust in the Lord to make it a safe experience for everyone. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you walk through our doors again.
What A Day Of Rejoicing That Will Be!