Stoned: The Rock Musical
The Good News July/August 2013
“So you came to a musical called ‘Stoned,’” says the narrator (Ian Evans) as he walks into a spotlight. As this visual spectacle of dazzling sets, multicolored lighting effects, and scenic backdrops unfolds, you soon realize it’s a rock musical designed to give you a spiritual high of biblical proportions. Before it’s over, you learn a lot more about martyrdom than about drug use.
Based on the book Stoned by Amber Hood, it held the audiences’ attention with an array of nonstop surprises and plot twists that took us back in time to Jerusalem 35 AD and to the life of Saul of Tarsus. And despite its deadly serious focus on martyrdom for the sake of Christ, Hood tested the audience’s capacity to laugh at the characters’ jokes, even at times when they might seem inappropriate from a real–world perspective.
Ironically, making light of various situations in the story helped to instill it with an added sense of mortality, but at times it teetered on the edge of acceptability. For example, I’ll always remember Paul’s (Jonathon Shaffstall) and Silas’s (Kip Moore) hymn singing while in jail.
Original music written and arranged by Doug Berry and performed by the Stoned Band was outstanding and added to the already high–energy, fast–paced, and masterful production by Carol Jaudes, territorial arts ministries director, as well as direction and choreography by Hood.
At the end, you go home satisfied that you’ve seen the closest thing to Broadway this side of the Tappan Zee Bridge (staged at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center, Purchase, New York). But even more, you get the message; Don’t wait to be blinded by God or stoned and murdered by the enemy before you’re fully transformed by the presence of Christ.
by Doug Berry