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Feed Your Soul and Get Your Motown Fix July 10-12

July 1, 2015


If you can’t afford tickets to Motown the Musical coming to the Orpheum July 14-19 (or you’re not an Orpheum season ticket holder and, like me,  refuse to sit in an upper balcony for a road show), this deal is for you. Just days before Motown the Musical’s opening night, you can enjoy your Motown favorites sung by an extraordinary Memphis cast and feed your soul to boot. The summertime music-and-more spectacular The Gospel According to Soul will be back with three performances July 10-12 after a three-year hiatus. This theatrical gem, produced by Pastor Dwayne Hunt of Many Thousand Gone fame, will move you, body and soul, and feed you with the bread of life.

Not Just Another Church Musical

jesus-gospel-of-soulIf you haven’t seen one of Dwayne Hunt’s productions, you will be amazed and moved by the professional quality of this first-class show.   Pastor Hunt is one of Memphis’ under-publicized theatrical treasures. Before he became a minister, he studied and excelled in musical theatre in college. His unique skill set enables him to write, direct, and stage productions that deliver audience impact equal to any Orpheum road show. Each cast includes a sprinkling of professional actors. Some are members of the Abundant Grace Fellowship congregation, others  leap at the chance to be involved in a Dwayne Hunt production. Both Many Thousand Gone and The Gospel According to Soul have been staged for multiple years, and  several key cast members have been involved since the shows’ beginnings. That rarely found experience infuses their performances with more depth, nuance, and authenticity every year.

There’s a Reason It’s Called Soul Music

The Gospel According to Soul is akin to Jesus Christ Superstar, substituting the joy, rhythm and passion of vintage Motown music for the rock-opera-meets-Broadway strains of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s biblically-inspired masterpiece. The music of the 1960’s and 1970’s that Baby Boomers dubbed “Soul Music” retells the story of Jesus of Nazareth in a way that even non-believers find compelling.  This soul-stirring night of theatre will inspire and entertain you in ways you may never have felt before. Like Many Thousand Gone, I found The Gospel According to Soul to be unforgettable. Both shows will be don’t-miss events on the Settles’ annual calendars as long as they are performed.

You can also expand the horizons of at-risk Memphis youth by making a contribution via GoFundMe. Fifteen dollars will treat one student to this professional quality theatrical production. Many of these children have never  seen a live stage performance of this caliber. The campaign hopes to treat 200 young people who participate in programs sponsored by Grace Center for the Performing Arts Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis, The Husband Institute ( a ministry of The Pursuit of God Church in Frayser), and Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church in South Memphis. Multiple studies have shown that exposure to the arts can redirect and improve the lives of underprivileged youth. Students with high levels of involvement in the arts tend to have better academic outcomes, higher career goals, and more civic involvement. Most of us have heard or witnessed stories of lives transformed by a visit to the ballet or a magical night in a dark theatre. Reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance have revealed numerous inspirational, real-life journeys of young people whose passion to engage in the performing arts has enabled them to overcome adversity, suffering,  and onerous challenges.

Russell Ferguson, Season 6 discovery, So You Think You Can Dance

Russell Ferguson, Season 6 discovery, So You Think You Can Dance

Join Eddie and me at The Gospel According to Soul. The show sold out in 2012, and was last seen in 2013, so don’t wait to get your tickets. Tickets for the three performances, gospel dancersall at 7:00 p.m. at Abundant Grace Fellowship (1574 Shelby Drive at Millbranch in Whitehaven) are available online at Eventbrite for $18.93. Trust us, this is biggest entertainment bargain in Memphis. Take your children (or grandchildren, if you are MOCA’s* like us), your Boomer parents, your church group, or a bunch of friends. Group discounts are available.

* (Memphians of a Certain Age)



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