We stage a variety of theatrical productions and musicals at Ragtown Gospel Theater. Just like all the music at Ragtown, all of our stage productions boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and raise thought provoking points about the lives and times of the apostles, their friends and family, and their Savior.We’ve staged over 20 unique productions on the Ragtown Gospel Stage; grand musicals with original live music, comedies with a Biblical “undeniable possibility”, dramas that explore the teachings of the apostles, the hardships they endured, the relationships they forged, and the joy they experienced in their daily devotion to the Good News. All our productions have breathtaking sets that are hand-built by volunteer craftsman and artists. Frequently heard upon curtain openings are awed gasps from audience members who simply have never seen a play staged with such attention to immersing viewers in the scenes.In addition to the stage productions of each play, we have each show professionally filmed and edited at the end of its run, and we provide DVDs of these productions for you to take home and share with your family, friends, or even your church or small group. They’re wonderful tools for study or just enjoyment with your loved ones.Click the title to read more about a production.
It was 1959 when Sweet Sixteen hit the charts. Every sixteen-year-old girl in America instantly fell head-over-heels in love with handsome young Cobb Cochran. Now over 60 years later, when he suddenly shows up single and available at Little Willows Retirement Home, the one hit wonder is still strumming those heartstrings.
If you were a fan of Saint John & the Televangelist, you’re going to love this light-hearted story that brings the magic of Bill Woodard and Glenn Polk back together on the Ragtown stage. This quirky collection of Little Willows residents will make Sweet Sixteen one of our most memorable productions yet.
Rhapsody of Angels
Elijah - Clash of the Prophets
Ahab is the king of Israel, but his wife, the evil pagan queen, Jezebel, has lured him into worship of her pagan god, Ba’al. Following their king, virtually all of Israel has turned away from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jezebel has sought out and killed all of God’s prophets, leaving only Elijah. God tells Elijah to challenge the 450 prophets of Ba’al to a contest to demonstrate which is the true God of Israel. Boldly, and humorously, Elijah taunts the prophets and ridicules their antics to compel their false gods to reveal whatever power they supposedly have.
We get a revealing look at perhaps the most intriguing of all the prophets in the Bible, culminating in a jarring display of the awesome
power of God. If you loved Saint John and the Televangelist, you’re going to want to see Elijah… Clash of the Prophets.
King David is described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart, yet one who succumbed to his very human weakness. In spite of his great moral failing, David penned the most beautiful passages of the Bible. The Psalms he wrote resonate with every Christian, as David fully reveals his heart, from serene heights of joy in the Spirit, to morose depths of despair in the flesh.
The Psalmist explores in words and music, the relationship of this flawed hero of faith with the Holy Spirit. Throughout his life the Spirit would come to David, inspiring the beautiful words of His songs, only to depart, leaving him longing for the One who could impart the confidence and peace of knowing that God was with him. Unlike David, we who are in Christ today are incredibly blessed to have the Holy Spirit with us in every moment of every day. But that is a reality we so often fail to embrace.
Peter the Rock
“Peter the Rock” was an insightful and moving portrait of the apostle, Simon Peter, and his relationship with Jesus Christ. Taking place on the day that Peter is to be martyered, the apostle realizes that he will be seeing Jesus face to face within hours. It has been over thirty years since he has seen his Savior and friend, and even facing the agony of crucifixion, Peter is joyous. The play ran during Ragtown Gospel Theater’s very first season.“Peter the Rock” shows us the humanity of the apostle, and the faithfulness of the Lord. In his hour of desperation, facing death, Jesus comes to comfort Peter in a vision. Seeing Jesus much as he did when the Lord appeared walking among the waves in the storm many years before, Peter realizes that he is facing a very similar test of his faith and courage.Reflecting upon his life and work spreading the Gospel and establishing the foundation of the church, Peter reveals his character. This passionate man, who was first to follow, first to defend, and first to deny Christ is revealed in all his humanity. His regrets, doubts about his performance as a leader, and loving remembrances of the days he walked with Jesus and the other disciples show a man of humility and wisdom.
Elizabeth & Mary
What happens when Zacharias is told that his wife, who is almost seventy years old, is going to give birth to their first baby? Like most men would, he finds it a little hard to believe.
In the meantime, Mary appears with news that she is to give birth to the Son of God. These two blessed women encourage each other as they await the birth of their sons, Jesus and John the Baptist.
This funny, heart-warming story is based on true events related in Scripture. It provides a picture of how ordinary people respond to their supernaturally extraordinary circumstances.
What if you were the one responsible for a bitter rift between the two most courageous champions of the early church?
One is your cousin, Barnabas, and the other is Paul, a man who had once refused to allow you to travel and minister with him, but who has come to hold you in high regard in his later years? Would you not be burdened by that, and compelled to try to bring about a reconciliation of these men who were once so powerfully united in their commitment to bring Jesus to the pagan Gentiles?
John Mark, who would later pen the Gospel of Mark, was that man, and this is a story, not only of his attempt to bring about that reconciliation, but about a most remarkable time in the history of Christianity. Luke records that he, Mark, and Paul were together in Rome when Paul was confined there under house arrest. These were the men through whom the Lord would convey the vast majority of the New Testament, and this was the only time that all of them are known to be together for an extended time.
“Barnabas” presents a portrait of not only their profound faith, but of their utter humanity.
Joseph the Carpenter - The Musical
It has come to light that Mary, who is betrothed to Joseph, a Nazarene carpenter, is with child. Joseph is not the father, and his brother, Clopas, who is his partner, is adamant that Joseph should exercise his right by law, and have Mary stoned in dishonor.
Joseph is torn, unwilling to believe that Mary would be unfaithful, and yet the evidence is obvious.
His dilemma is resolved when Gabriel the archangel is sent to assure Joseph that both he and Mary have been chosen by God to be entrusted with His Son. Mary was chosen to give birth to the Savior, but it was His Abba Joseph who was chosen to guide Jesus as He grew in wisdom and knowledge. It was a role Joseph very easily could have rejected.
Caylen Boyles as Joseph
Kacy Wheeler as Mary
Glenn Polk as Gabriel
Jay Young as Clopas
Nancy Thuett as Rowena
Ronald Thuett as Ephriam
The original stage play, first presented in 2009, has been adapted as a musical by playwright Chip Polk. The show features six original songs, composed by Polk, and performed by the cast.
The Gates of Paradise
To the thief beside Him on a cross, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” This riveting story takes us beyond the gates of that mysterious place wherein all those justified by faith await and bear witness to the victory of the Messiah.
The Carpenter's Son
There is an eighteen year gap in the biblical account of the life of Jesus. From age twelve until the day He came to His cousin, John, to be baptized. “The Carpenters Son” takes place during that mysterious interlude between the lines of scripture and presents an endearing portrait of Jesus from a fresh perspective, as He experiences the challenges of life as a common man.
The setting is Capernaum, the fishing village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where youthful future apostles James, John, Andrew, and Simon Peter live and work together. As Jesus applies His skills as a carpenter, building a boat for His uncle Zebedee, the father of James and John. He sows the seeds of their common destiny and we glimpse the true humanity and humble heart of the Savior.
This heartwarming story reveals the lifelong friendships upon which Jesus formed the core of His apostles. It also presents a comforting assurance that Jesus understands our challenges in life. because He too has faced them as a man.
Sinai - The Mountain of God
After the relentless persecutor of Christians, Saul of Tarsus, experienced his miraculous vision of Jesus, and subsequent conversion to faith on the road to Damascus, it is recorded in Scripture that he “went to Arabia.” The Apostle Paul later recounts that the Gospel of the New Covenant was revealed to him personally by the resurrected Jesus. Although Scripture does not specify where he went in Arabia to receive this revelation, it is what playwright Chip Polk calls an “undeniable possibility” that Paul traveled to Mount Sinai, where Moses had received the Covenant Law from God. In “Sinai…The Mountain of God” Paul once again comes face to face with Jesus, who is accompanied by others who help Paul grasp the great purpose to which God has called him.
Joey Hallelujah! God Loves America!
In their first encounter, the founder and renowned leader of Hallelujah International Ministries, the Reverend Joey Hallelujah crashed his airplane on Patmos, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, while en route to a conference with the Pope. There was an old man living alone on the island who claimed to be John the Apostle. Joey Hallelujah assumed the man was a delusional hermit, while naturally, John assumed the flamboyant televangelist was another prophetic vision that he was to dutifully record in his Book of Revelation.
In this new chapter of the story, it is revealed that, upon his rescue, the televangelist publicly shared details of his journey through time and experiences with the Apostle John. His claims have had a damaging impact on Joey Hallelujah’s ministry. He is preparing an attempt to restore his image and credibility by televising a nationwide patriotic and spiritual crusade, when he us unexpectedly reunited with his dear friend from the past… the Apostle John.
The setting is the present day, days prior to the broadcast, in the television studio and office suite of the Reverend Joey Hallelujah at the headquarters of Hallelujah International Ministries.
Daughters of God
The setting is Capernaum 50 A.D., 17 years years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The church is spreading from Judea and Galilee into Turkey and beyond. The 10 remaining apostles have spread the Gospel throughout Israel, and have avoided the snares of Herod Agrippa. They are all about to go into Asia, Africa, and beyond. Only James, brother of Jesus, Peter, and John will remain in Israel. Herod Agrippa has begun to actively seek out the Christian leaders, and that has been a catalyst for the dispersal of the apostles. They are moving to places of relative safety as they prepare t0 disperse. Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Gallilee presents relative safety among friends and family members, and escape via the sea, should Agrippa’s soldiers approach. These are the women who followed, heard, and believed the teachings of Jesus, and subsequently received the Holy Spirit along with the apostles. Some are wives of apostles, and most have embraced their new-found equality with the men under this new order, and then some.
“Gethsemane” is the final temptation that Christ will face before He endures the cross, and the future of all mankind hangs in the balance. Witness Jesus as He shares His last Passover supper with the apostles, knowing that His ultimate challenge is at hand. Follow Him into the Garden of Gethsemane as the Son of God endures His greatest test of faith. This is a stirring and powerful message of the depths of our Savior’s love.
This is a story that celebrates our most cherished traditions of Christmas, and in particular, the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas as a way of expressing the love of Christ to the special people in our lives. This is our first non-biblical times production, taking place in the late 1940s at a state operated orphanage in a region called Norpol Province. Nicklaus and Meena Elliffe are long-time house parents at State Home for Children No. 13. They care for nine children in their cottage, which is located on orphanage property. There are 19 similar cottages housing orphaned, abandoned, and abused children. Even though the people portrayed are not biblical characters, as in all Ragtown Gospel Theater productions, you will see the Gospel woven throughout the story of “Say Nicklaus!”
Because this is a special Seasonal Production at Ragtown, the DVD is not available for sale.
Mystery of the Hebrew Scribe
For almost 2,000 years the identity of the writer of the Book of Hebrews has been a mystery that Bible scholars have pondered. Many assume it to be Paul, but there is reason for objection. Others have suggested Barnabas or Apollos. “MYSTERY OF THE HEBREW SCRIBE” presents a completely new and intriguing “undeniable possibility. Over the last five years, Ragtown Gospel Theater faithful have come to expect deeply thought-provoking drama, and multiple layers of substance drawn from Scripture by our resident playwright. In this play Chip Polk weaves a tapestry from the loose ends of Hebrews and the deep truths conveyed in its verses. It will be a production that could literally change your relationship with Christ.
Why did Jesus die on a cross? Only that man might be reconciled to God. That is the powerfully uplifting message of Pentecost. See the heart of God as He must forsake His Son, and withdraws His Spirit as Jesus endures the crucifixion. Witness the reuniting of the Father and Son in Heaven. Experience a beautifully encouraging, deeply moving depiction of the defining event of all human history… the evidence of mankind’s reconciliation to God, purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus.
St. John and the Televangelist
The extravagantly flamboyant 21st century televangelist, the Reverend Joey Hallelujah, finds himself miraculously marooned on the Isle of Patmos with John the Apostle. John believes Joey Hallelujah to be just another of the many extraordinary visions he has had while exiled on the island. The celebrated televangelist believes he is trapped on a deserted island with a delusional old hermit. It is a hilariously funny, yet touching story that presents the Gospel from two entirely different points of view. Saint John and the Televangelist is the most enthusiastically received live production yet to be produced at Ragtown Gospel Theater. Watch below as John and Joey discuss the nature of ducks.
Heaven – A Divine Comedy
If God loves to hear His children sing together, imagine how He loves to hear us laugh. You will laugh throughout this production. It is your first day in Heaven, and you are attending an orientation for new arrivals. Four notable personalities will address frequently asked questions, and set your mind as ease as you embark upon the greatest adventure of all. Each one will offer welcome and insight, and some valuable tips on making a smooth transition to our heavenly new life. You will be surprised how much fun Heaven will be. Not since he appeared in Greater Tuna has Glenn Polk had more fun with a role. Or in this case…4 roles. Glenn appears as each of the four heavenly greeters. Solomon, Michael the Archangel, Martha the sister of Lazarus… and Elvis!
Deacon and the Pharisee – A Story of Stephen and Saul
The story presents a compelling underlying drama that unfolds beneath the biblical accounts of this definitive episode in the life of the early church. Putting together the scattered pieces of evidence found in Scripture, Polk has once again given us a captivating and enlightening viewpoint of one of Christianity’s most dramatic events. Director Glenn Polk has assembled a choice cast to bring the powerful story to life on the stage. In the title roles, Branden Waits will portray Stephen and Jay Young has been cast as Saul of Tarsus. Director Glenn Polk plays Gamaliel, Saul’s mentor and teacher. Frank Emre is a new addition to the Ragtown troupe, in the role of Caiaphas, the chief priest. David Brantley, another newcomer to the Ragtown stage, and a veteran stage actor who has appeared in many professional productions will appear as Nicodemus. Joe Bass returns to Ragtown as Joseph of Arimithea.
God’s promise to Abraham pre-dates Jewish Law, and the Covenant secured by the blood of Christ ultimately offers the fulfillment of that promise. This powerful, bittersweet, funny, and profound story will open your eyes to the great complexity of God’s plan to reconcile fallen man to God, which can be fully explained with just one word… Love. Experience the amazement of that Love as you discover that you are the fulfillment of Abraham’s Promise.
Sermon on the Mount
The sermon that Jesus delivered on the hillside above the Sea of Galilee is one of the most well loved passages of Scripture in the New Testament. This portrayal of that definitive moment in Christ’s ministry brings us to the feet of Jesus as He speaks the words that would be quoted throughout the world for all the generations to come. But, seeing Jesus through the eyes of Yagil, a dubious merchant who has been persuaded to travel across the hills from Tyre seeking healing, the underlying message of the sermon is revealed.In this wonderful portrayal of Jesus by Gabriel Ramirez, we see a loving Son of God revealing mankind’s desperate need of a Savior who can fulfill the demands of righteousness for us.
It is a story that begins at the dawn of time, when God prepared to give life to Adam, fully knowing all that was to come, and the dear price that His Son was to pay on behalf of mankind. Bethlehem is more than the familiar Christmas story about the birth of the baby Jesus.We see instead the birth of Christ from God’s perspective, and in so doing, more fully grasp how immeasurably deep and high, wide and long God’s love for us is. For God so loves us that He gave his Son, and His Son gave Himself so that we too, could become Children of God.
Because this is a special Seasonal Production at Ragtown, the DVD is not available for sale.
The Antioch Challenge
One of the most pivotal and dramatic events in the early church is a story that begins in Antioch, and reaches across the centuries into the church today. This drama delves into the intrigue and confrontation which Paul describes in biting detail in the second chapter of his letter to the Galatians.The Apostle Paul was steadfastly uncompromising, and powerfully persuasive as he defended the Gospel before the Lord’s brother, James and the apostles. Had he faltered, the freedom and intimacy of our relationship with Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit might have been forever buried in the mandates and customs of Jewish Law.Paul, Barnabas, Peter, and James stand at the heart of this gripping and thought-provoking story, woven together from evidence within the recorded Scriptures in a new work by playwright, Chip Polk.The work of the Holy Spirit is about to begin. Jesus is joyfully anticipating these upcoming 40 days, when at last, rather than speaking in parables and metaphor, He will speak plainly about who he is, and what has happened.
It is late in the afternoon of the day Jesus was resurrected. He has appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb early in the morning, and told her to inform the apostles that he had arisen and is alive, but He has yet to appear among them. Instead, Jesus now waits at a desolate ruin along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He will present himself to two very special people. One is identified in Scripture as Clopas, a disciple and the brother of Joseph. The identity of the other has been a mystery throughout the ages. This story presents one undeniable possibility.Purposely altering His appearance, Jesus presents himself as a man in his sixties. This is the resurrected Jesus in unfettered, joyful reunion with the Father and the Spirit. There is nothing left to overcome. Their work is done. Jesus has reconciled man to God. Sin is no longer a barrier. Everything about the relationship between God and man has been changed by the life, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus. Belief in him as Savior is now and forever the single bridge from death to life.The work of the Holy Spirit is about to begin. Jesus is joyfully anticipating these upcoming 40 days, when at last, rather than speaking in parables and metaphor, He will speak plainly about who he is, and what has happened.
Directing the largest cast yet to assemble in a Ragtown production, Glenn Polk brings John the Baptist to life in an exhilarating portrayal of the man God chose for the honor of heralding the coming of His Son.Playwright Chip Polk, once again, has delivered a fresh and innovative perspective on another among the close circle of family and friends of Jesus.John, called the “Baptist,” was the final prophet to proclaim the coming Messiah, and in many ways, the first evangelist, proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven. No one since Moses had been entrusted exclusively with such a message. The message John proclaimed was the best news for mankind since creation.The Baptist weaves together humor and humanity to create a surprising and unforgettable portrait of the enigmatic prophet.
The Bible records that James, the Lord’s brother, has now taken a role of leadership among the Christians in Jerusalem, along with the apostles Peter and John. Herod Agrippa has recently returned to Judea, having spent years in Rome as a trusted companion of the insane Roman emperor, Caligula. As the newly appointed King of Jews, Agrippa is very supportive of the Jewish priests and leaders, and has begun to take drastic measures against the Christians on their behalf.In 44 A.D., just before the Feast of Unleavened Bread signals the beginning of Passover, Agrippa arrests and executes James, the brother of John. Without a trial, he is beheaded. Agrippa also has Peter arrested, and plans to execute him at the conclusion of the Passover.As the story begins, Mary, the Lord’s mother, has recently died. She has lived in the home of John, the apostle, since the crucifixion, as Jesus instructed from the cross. John’s mother, who is Mary’s sister, Salome, has lived in her son’s household as well.With the leadership of the Christian Church in peril, Mary Magdalene, trusted disciple of Jesus, is drawn back to Jerusalem to offer sanctuary, but she comes too late to save James. the brother of John, or Simon Peter.
Judas – the Lost Apostle
When I began to write “Judas the Lost Apostle,” I had only one clearly defined idea. I wanted Judas to present a clear picture of the contempt Satan has for mankind, and for GOD. As always happens, the writing was a journey, during which I became well acquainted—uncomfortably acquainted—with the man who would betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver.It is a jarring experience to watch “Judas the Lost Apostle.” It was a disturbing challenge to write. The conclusions that came to me were nothing like my pre-conceived notions about the character and personality of Judas. I believe audiences will be surprised by the way this portrayal resonates. It is a situation built upon undeniable possibilities that are found between the lines of Scripture.The response that I believe most people will have, is absolute thankfulness that we, in this age, live on this side of the cross, and this side of the Resurrection, under a Covenant of Grace and Forgiveness. I thank God for that, because without the Spirit of Christ living in and through me, I have so much in common with Judas Iscariot. We all do.
Joseph the Carpenter
Playwright Chip Polk shares his thoughts about “Joseph the Carpenter”
We know little about the personality of Joseph from scripture, and yet God chose this young man to guide His Son into manhood, a selection as crucial as His choice of Mary to be the mother of the Lord. This portrait of Joseph presents a glimpse of Christ in His glory in Heaven, and we see the heart of God, through the words of the angel, Gabriel, as he convinces Joseph to take Mary as his bride.
Director Glenn Polk, as he always does, finds a way to impart a believable quality of natural humanity in every character portrayed. Gabriel Ramirez as Joseph perfectly presents an engaging mixture of gentle naïveté, depth and strength that seems to perfectly fit someone to whom GOD would entrust His SON. Sydney Kennedy is perfectly cast as Mary. We are struck by the childlike youth, glowing innocence, and a hint of steely determination framed against a foreshadowing of the trials she and Joseph are to face. A wonderful supporting cast brings touches of humor and warmth to this production. Glenn Polk, in his portrayal of the angel Gabriel, manages to make supernatural altogether believable.
It is not only believable, but evident that the supernatural presence of the Lord is working in and through the writing, directing, casting, and performance of Joseph the Carpenter, just as He has in every production at Ragtown Gospel Theater.
Mary, Mother of the Lord
The setting is Jerusalem, in the Upper Room, where Jesus and the twelve had previously shared the Last Supper. The time is several days after the ascension of Jesus. Those who witnessed that miraculous event have been instructed by Jesus to go to Jerusalem and wait there. Included in the large assembly are the remaining apostles of Jesus, and His family. They are apprehensive, without Jesus among them, not knowing how long they must remain. Still, they wait, anticipating what Jesus has described as being “clothed with power from on high.”The Lord’s mother, having witnessed the brutal execution of Jesus, and the overwhelming joy of His resurrection, has now experienced his ascension from a mother’s perspective. She has watched as her son was taken from her, yet again.“Mary, Mother of the Lord” presents a portrait of a very human, very loving mother, surrounded by friends and family who have shared the mystery and wonder of her miraculous life. Through their shared experience, both the humanity and the deity of Jesus are tenderly revealed.
Lazarus, The Lord’s Friend
The story weaves together the loose ends of a drama that exists between the lines of recorded scripture. Intriguing questions, unanswered by scripture, are left open to conjecture. Lazarus is just such an enigma, whose fate is not revealed. While the principles of faith presented are scripturally sound, some of the story you are about to see is speculation…what I call “an undeniable possibility.”When this story takes place, Lazarus, whose miraculous resurrection from death foreshadowed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, is ancient and in poor health. A distant relative and her husband, Ezra, live in his home and supply his needs.Everyone who witnessed the miracle of his return to life is dead, including his sisters, Mary and Martha, all victims of the persecution of the followers of Jesus. Fearing that the legend and influence of Lazarus would increase, should an attempt to take his life be unsuccessful, he was left alive, and alone, and remains so. Although he laments that he is not with those he loves, Lazarus knows that his life serves a purpose he does not understand. He waits on his friend, the Lord Jesus, to reveal that purpose.It is late in the day in Bethany, just a few miles from Jerusalem, on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. Bethany is where Lazarus lived, and, with his sisters, often hosted Jesus and His disciples when they would travel to Jerusalem. It is where Lazarus died and was restored to life by Jesus. It was in Bethany that Mary, Lazarus’ sister, anointed the feet and head of Jesus with perfume just before His crucifixion.
Paul The Apostle
In 1999, the pastor of the church we were attending asked me to write something special for the Good Friday evening service. I agreed and began writing a play, which would become “Paul the Apostle.” The Lord would use that play to change lives, beginning with mine. It would become the seed of a magnificent place called Ragtown Gospel Theater. Glenn Polk traveled for 7 years performing the one-man adaptation of this play. It has been performed live in over 260 different locations, including 3 countries in Europe. It has been viewed in 168 countries around the world, broadcast on the GLC Television Network. It is amazing what can happen when the Lord is in something.