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Dinner theater to share the key role of John the Baptist PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 November 2017 13:28

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



There are many sides to the Christmas Story from the Bible and soon, a very talented cast of actors and singers will tell John the Baptist’s side of the story through the upcoming production of “Preparing the Way.” 

This year’s performances will be Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 1 and 3 at the South Church of God at 635 S. Washington Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m. each evening and dinner will start being served about 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the performance are available at the Leader & Times offices. This is the sixth year for the dinner theater, according to director Carolyn Granite. 

“We’re doing different things with the show this year that we’ve never done before,” Granite said. “It’s always a challenge getting everyone together for practice but it always works out in the end and everyone’s doing great now.”

The play will focus on the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth, a couple in advanced age who eventually became the parents of John the Baptist. 

“Of course, Zachariah didn’t believe the angel and couldn’t talk until the baby was born and then said the baby would be named John, so we’re working from that direction to the birth of Christ,” Granite said. “Then after that is when they’re both older and John is in the wilderness as the voice of the wilderness preparing the way for Christ’s ministries.”

Cast members Danny Medeiros and Janie Pierce said for them, the production is a great kick-off to the Christmas season. 

“For me, it’s the spirit of what Christmas is truly about, not all the commercialism,” Pierce said. “This is truly what the spirit of Christmas is and why we celebrate it. Like Danny said, it’s a kickoff to the season in the right way and in a special way.”

“I always look forward to it, I talk to people associated with it throughout the year to see where everything is and I like singing too, so it’s always a lot of fun,” Medeiros added. “I think it really helps kick off the Christmas season. You’ve got Thanksgiving coming up soon and then soon after that is when the play is and it’s a great kick-off because it’s a very spiritual story that’s being told from a different angle every year. So the people keep coming back and then about this time of the year we get asked when tickets will be available and all of that.”

All three also agreed there are several factors that keep people in the community coming back for the performance each year. 

“We always have a great response from the community, people always start asking when we’ll be having it,” Granite said. “They seem to enjoy having a nice meal and then seeing the program we put on, it’s almost like a dinner in the round like with what some bigger cities do.”

“I think it’s because it’s a different script every year and a different performance every year and the music changes, the people often change each year,” Pierce added. “And I think that’s one of the things that keeps people coming back because it’s that expectation of ‘What are they going to do to top this next year?’ And the ladies who do the cooking also have a big role with all this too because if the food wasn’t good, I don’t think people would attend it as well as they have been.”

Pierce and Medeiros also said they have had a great time working on this year’s production. 

“Being part of this is very important, being part of the music and being part of the cast, it’s very meaningful to do this as it relates to John the Baptist’s journey and preparing the way for the Lord,” Pierce said. “There are so many of us who have so many different talents in this group from singing to acting to just being part of a church as well. We all come from different churches, and it’s kind of like being part of a community theater. It’s very meaningful because the way it’s written, each part is very integral to the storyline.”

“This is my fifth year of doing this and it’s always a great group, I enjoy being around them and doing this,” Medeiros added. “Each year it’s a different story, which is a learning experience on top of everything else. We all have a lot of fun. I’m playing Zachariah the priest and my part’s very important and I love doing this every year.”

The community is invited and encouraged to attend this year’s “Preparing the Way.”

“We’re using some different types of music this year, it kind of goes along with the story,” Granite said. “I also love all the people who come to help us, we have people from all the different churches who come help us, and it’s fun working with all of them and seeing how it progresses. Just come out and enjoy an evening with good food (they always make such good food) and just enjoy the Christmas story in a different way and start the Christmas season off. We’ve had people tell us this is how they kick off their Christmas season, so it’s our gift to the community.” 

“Everyone’s worked so hard to get to where we are now and as they say in theater, we’re going off script as much as we can,” Pierce said. “It’s also great sharing that sense of community with the community in the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of preparing the way like John the Baptist did for Jesus, and I hope everyone comes to see us.”

“I enjoy these guys, they’re all great people to be around and to work with. I like getting into character, it’s a lot of fun and I like doing the research to get a feel of everything,” Medeiros added. “This is what it’s about, it’s about Jesus and what He did for us.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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