published Friday, October 5th, 2012

Touring musical comes to Southern Adventist

IF YOU GO

What: "The Rock & the Rabbi."

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Iles Physical Education Center, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale

Admission: $10 adults, $20 families.

Phone: 236-2814.

Peter and Jesus? They have a little history between them.

There was that whole fishing thing to start with, the "rock" discussion, that walking on water bit, and, oh, that little denial episode.

So there's a good bit to tell, and Peter will be in Collegedale to do it when the musical drama "The Rock & the Rabbi" is presented Tuesday at Southern Adventist University.

The drama, in its 14th year of touring the country, combines acoustic songs with dramatic storytelling.

Peter is Gary Richardson, one half of the creative team, along with Danny Hamilton, who put the musical together when they were on the staff of a Florida church 15 years ago.

The production, sometimes funny and sometimes emotional, Richardson said, is akin to "Garrison Keillor meets MTV Unplugged," a cousin to "The Cotton Patch Gospel" or as if "James Taylor brought his big band."

"The Rock & the Rabbi," a 90-minute show performed without an intermission, will have musicians on several instruments, such as acoustic guitars, violin, cello, African and Irish drums, and bagpipes.

The songs, with titles such as "Big Fish/Little Fish," "7 x 70," "Wash Over All of Me" and "Didn't You Love Him?," feature influences from pop and ballad to Celtic and bluegrass.

Richardson said "The Rock & the Rabbi" is not performed in period costume or with the words of the King James Bible.

"It has a very New York feel to it, like a big concert in New York," he said. "It's as if it happened today. It's told in very plain language."

The musical has appeal for those who are intimately familiar with the biblical story of Jesus and his Apostle and those who aren't, Richardson said.

"If a person has no biblical background," he said, "they're going to hear a great story. Folks who grew up in a church don't ever get to hear the story all in one sitting.

"When you hear it from the storyteller's mouth, talking about what he experienced, that's better than studying one particular verse [or] one particular book."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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