By Bob Evans
Depend on The Chestnut Fine Arts Center, as always, to create a show to please die-hard fans and pack the auditorium, this time with “Men of Faith,” a cast of nine men singing spiritual songs in a two act musical production.
“Men of Faith” unites some strong local voices, half of which are new to The Chestnut, for a spirited evening of gospel favorites. The cast is: Patrick Beasley, Paul Morel, Josiah Mullins, Mark Murphy, Chris Owen, Andrew Schmidt, Bob Wearing Gary Wesche, Josh Whisler. Of those, Beasley, Mullins, Wearing, Whisler make their Chestnut debut in this production.
As for the production crew and music providers, they are led by Brad Zimmerman, director/piano, Lenora Remmert, keyboard. Terri Babbitt, stage manager; Val Fagan, Spotlight/usher; Debbie Payne, set designer; Diane Mackey, house manager; make up the production team that do the behind the scenes work and make the show snap.
With the gospel theme, “Men of Faith” appeals to church groups as evidenced by the large contingency of worshipers on opening night. The show will be extremely popular and my guess is that Sunday matinee shows will be hard to schedule because church groups will secure big blocks of seats.
And, the show is geared toward a vast audience, not just church groups. Zimmerman always plans shows that appeal to the masses. This one is no different. It contains many songs that are known and beloved by a general audience. Add the nine-man vocal component and the show is definitely one for general audiences to enjoy.
Some of the music selected for “Men of Faith” is: “What a Day That Will be,” I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary,” Because He Lives,” “Jesus Is Lord of All,” “Down by the Riverside,” “Peace in the Valley,” What a Wonderful World,” “He Touched Me,” “I’ve Been Changed,” “Sweet, Sweet Spirit,” “More Than Wonderful,” “When He Reached Down His Hand for Me,” “You Raise Me Up,” “Yes, He Did,” “Oh, What a Time,” and more.
In all, The Chestnut show covers 25 titles. But, some are medleys so more songs are included but not always named. It’s a Sunday festival on performance days, to be sure.
Each of the vocalists play an intregal part of the production on solo parts, duets, trios, and harmonies. Sometimes just one performer gets an entire song, but the strength comes when all nine unite with beautiful harmony.
The show is a crowd-pleaser and brings the audience to its feet as the bows begin.
“Men of Faith” continues through April 22 and ticket demand could be very strong for some dates. Be sure to call or reserve in advance. Groups can be accommodated, but please call first for available dates. Tickets can be booked by calling 913.764.2121 or through The Chestnut’s website.
Tags: Chestnut Fine Arts, “Men of Faith”, Olathe Theater, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment