Women and the Word
A new black gospel musical, premiering in Roseville? Admittedly, it sounds unlikely. Nonetheless, the Magic Circle Theatre has joined several artists who helped create the popular local musical And the Dream Goes On!, including the show’s writer and director, Lisa Tarrer Lacy; composer, Charles Cooper; and leading man, William Miller. Together, they’ve come up with Evangelize.
It’s a good-natured, audience-friendly musical, with a score by the resourceful Cooper, who is a treasure. It’s also a comedy with a message, set in a Baptist church where the deacons and pastor all are male, but Sister Angela (attractive Dana Pope, in a heads-up performance) is called to speak the Word. You don’t need a burning bush to anticipate who’ll stand in the pulpit at the end. The fun is derived from how we reach the preordained conclusion.
Between its many upbeat songs, Evangelize is actually a battle of the sexes. It smiles on human foibles and the antics of several comically portrayed schemers, both male and female. Miller, who has a wonderful voice, belts out two powerful songs and gives a good short sermon. And while it’s undeniably message-driven, Evangelize is not a pushy piece. There’s good comic dialogue in black vernacular and a cute subplot involving young romance.