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Different tale a familiar story
'Gospel' at Playhouse until Nov. 1
cotton patch pics 010
Jon Williams and Brittany Shewbridge perform a scene from "Cotton Patch Gospel." - photo by Submitted

If you're going

The show will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and every Sunday at 3 p.m. through Nov. 1 at the Cumming Playhouse, 101 School St. in downtown Cumming. Tickets are $20 and $15 for seniors, students and large groups.

For more information, call (770) 781-9178 or go online at

Playright Productions can’t say for sure what Jesus Christ would do. But an ensemble cast will show what could have happened if he was born in Gainesville in its latest production, "Cotton Patch Gospel."

“We feel that it’s a great way to give witness to Jesus and his teachings by making it very relatable to today’s time,” said Renee Davis, show director and production company co-owner. “A man born 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem can be presented as a man born in the 1930s in Gainesville and still resonate with people because of his message."

The production, now showing at the Cumming Playhouse, is an unconventional presentation of the life of Jesus, drawing from a modern translation.

The show features folk music, which Davis said appeals to audiences raised in the '50s and '60s.

The show's cast features six members who also appeared in the popular "Smoke on the Mountain." Seven of the nine cast members are returning from last year’s inaugural show.

Cumming resident Jon Williams has taken over the role of Jesus this year, and Davis said “he is fantastic.”

“It was something that was meant to be. He is really good and fits right in -- like a glove,” she said.

The show’s writer, Harry Chapin, is expected to attend the show one night during its run. Though it’s only the production's second year at the playhouse, the show first hit the stage 30 years ago.

Cumming Playhouse Director Linda Heard said audiences need to come with an open mind. The production is not the traditional gospel, she said.

“It is a different way to tell the story, but in its uniqueness, it really drives the point home,” she said. “You have to be willing to accept the story being told in a different setting, but after the show is over, you really feel you heard the story of Christ and his life in a very truthful way.

“The points are driven home much more vividly than maybe they are in the traditional setting.”