Bob Matthews is a veteran performer who has sung with several gospel quartets and is president of the CSRA Gospel Music Association, but he’s breaking new ground personally in Enopion Theatre Company’s production of The Prince is Giving A Ball.
“I have always wanted to do a musical,” said Matthews, who plays the King in the production.
He auditioned for the play, but he thought his age might prohibit him from being cast.
“I really wasn’t expecting a part,” he said.
Using familiar character types from other stories, The Prince is Giving a Ball is the story of God sending his son into the land and of God’s love for the people, according to Carol Rezelle, the playwright and director.
“It’s told fairytale style. It’s whimsical,” she said.
The fairytale characters are likely to be recognizable to audiences; however, to ensure no copyright infringement, they are not named and have some differences from any Disney adaptations.
Unlike Matthews, who is performing in his first musical, Wes Hennings, who plays Clarence the page, is a frequent performer with other theater groups in the area. Hennings said there is something unique about the opportunity of working with Enopion.
“It’s really cool being able to work with the playwright under her direction,” he said of Rezelle. “She knows the story, and she knows exactly how she wants it done.”
While she knows what she wants, Rezelle gives the actors some flexibility too, he said, as long as it doesn’t alter the message.
“She wants the Christian message to come across,” he said.
Although there are references to fairytale characters, Rezelle said the production is not just for children. “It’s a play for all ages,” she said.
The Prince is Giving a Ball will be performed at 7 p.m., Aug. 9-10, 16-17 and at 3 p.m., Aug. 11, 18 and 25 at the Kroc Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for ages 65 and older, children ages 12 and younger and groups of 10 or more. For ticket information, call (706) 771-7777.