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Home > News > Cotton Patch Gospel Playing in Chicago

Cotton Patch Gospel Playing in Chicago

Music and Lyrics by Harry Chapin
Book by Tom Key and Russell Treyz

Directed by Jim Poole

April 28 - June 5, 2005

Due to its tremendous success, Provision Theater is remounting Cotton Patch Gospel. This entertaining musical features the reverential retelling of the Gospels of Matthew and John in a contemporary southern setting, set to bluegrass music. The award winning musical is based on the book The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan, a Bible scholar and Civil Rights activist. Tom Key and Russell Treyz adapted Jordan's writtings and worked with the late Harry Chapin to create this musical stage version.

Chapin, composer of such well know hits as "Cat's in the Cradle" and "Taxi", created this production's musical score. Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone describes the songs in Cotton Patch Gospel "some of the best songs Harry Chapin ever wrote." Cotton Patch Gospel played to packed houses and unanimous critical praise from numerous publications, including: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Reader, Lerner Publications and The Joseph Jefferson Award Committee also recommended Cotton Patch Gospel. Cotton Patch Gospel is the only off Broadway show to receive praise from both Rolling Stone and Christianity Today.

"Cotton Patch is a blessed relief...tuneful, zesty and good-hearted...Gregory, a handsome, clean-cut fellow...capable of an uncommonly intense and geniune connection with an audience...gently folksy and inclusive...some of Chapin's best compositions..."
Chris Jones -- Chicago Tribune, March 10, 2004

"Recommended...a heartfelt passion laced with humor and enhanced by some darn good music...Gregory gives a tour-de-force performance...his boyish charm, unbridled enthusiasm and inventive acting...a solid piece of story theater."
Mary Houlihan -- Chicago Sun-Times, March 9, 2004

"Some of the best songs Harry Chapin ever wrote."
Dave Marsh -- Rolling Stone, March 9, 2004

"A winner! Drop everything and go see it. Your feet will be tapping and your fingers will be snapping."
Tom Howard -- Christianity Today, March 9, 2004

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"Oh, if a man tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man's life could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world?" -- Harry Chapin, 1942-1981.



Harry's Music
Bottom Line Encore Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Dance Band On The Titanic*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Gold Medal Collection
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Greatest Stories Live*
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Harry Chapin Tribute
Heads & Tales
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Last Protest Singer
Legends Of Lost & Found*
Living Room Suite
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
On The Road To Kingdom Come
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Portrait Gallery
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Short Stories
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Sniper & Other Love Songs
      [Amazon] [iTunes]
Story of a Life
Verities & Balderdash
      [Amazon] [iTunes]

* = Highly Recommended

The Latest Release

Sniper & Other Love Songs


In 1972, Harry released Sniper & Other Love Songs. Thirty years would pass before the album would ever reach the CD format. Sniper was finally re-released in June, 2002.

Originally given a working title of Sweet City Suite, the album tells the story of various characters one might run into in a city. The album features the original studio versions of Chapin classics "A Better Place to Be" and "Circle." But perhaps more importantly (as those songs are already well-distributed on compilation CDs), the album features seemingly lost Chapin stories, including "And the Baby Never Cries," "Burning Herself," "Barefoot Boy," and "Woman Child."

Sniper is for the seasoned Chapin fan. New fans would do better to check out Greatest Stories Live. But for Chapin fans who have reached the level of the Dance Band on the Titanic album, this is the next step. Slightly over-produced and having a little of the "forced" feel that some of Harry's studio albums possess, this album does not capture the powerfully live Harry Chapin. Nonetheless, it captures Harry's great iconoclastic songwriting--Harry takes the story song to new heights here. But the album works best for those ready for it; don't buy it until you are ready to appreciate it!