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“And as I slept, I dreamed a dream.” Once there was scarcely a home in England where these words would not be recognized as part of the opening lines of the world’s best-selling spiritual quest story, “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”
New Life Fine Arts Musical Theater’s original adaptation of this classic story, “Celestial City: The Story of John Bunyan and His ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’” is coming to the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, 40 Stow Street, in Concord, Massachusetts, with thirteen performances, September 22nd through October 7th, 2012.
Hailed as “the ancestor to the English novel,” “The Pilgrim’s Progress” has never been out of print. For more than 250 out of its 334 years in publication, it has been the world’s best-selling book, next to the Bible. It has been translated into more than 200 languages. It is the story of Everyman, embraced by people of all nations and it is an adventure story for audiences of all ages.
This musical retelling of Bunyan’s work and life is written and directed by Concord composer David MacAdam and features 37 actors, singers and dancers ready to take you on the journey of a lifetime. It’s all here—the Hill Difficulty, Palace Beautiful, Vanity Fair, mountaintop exhilarations, valleys of humiliation, dungeons of despair and the unpredictable twists and turns on what proves to be the dangerous, yet rewarding, road of life.
Glenn Gray of Sudbury, Massachusetts, who has preformed with New Life Fine Arts productions in England and Israel, as well as in the Boston area, returns in the role of the real-life John Bunyan and his fantasy counterpart in the allegorical character of Pilgrim. “People are moved by the show,“ says Gray, “but not just superficially. It’s a deep-down, feel-good show. We’ve received phenomenal response. ”
New Life Fine Arts Musical Theater, based in Concord, has been staging original musical productions to the delight of theatergoers in the Greater Boston area since 1987, including such musical entertainment as “Scrooge,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” “Ruth,” a musical based on the biblical story, and “Song on the Wind,” the rarely told story of Concord’s earliest days and the townspeople’s relationships to the indigenous people.
“Celestial City: The Story of John Bunyan and His ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’” will be staged this fall for seven evening and six matinee performances. Evening performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 28th and Oct. 5th; Saturdays, Sept. 22nd , 29th and Oct. 6th ; and Wednesdays, Sept. 25th and Oct. 3. Matinees will be at 2:00 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 22nd, 29th and Oct. 5th; and Sundays, Sept. 23rd, Sept. 30th and Oct. 7th.
ADVANCE PURCHASE IS RECOMMENDED as seating is limited. Tickets are now on sale at the 24 hour toll-free ticket line 877-SHOW55 (877-746-9755). Tickets are $20 – Regular Admission; $18 – Senior & Students; and $16 – Children 12 & under. Orders are discounted $2 per ticket if purchased by August 31st. Group rates are available. More information is available at http://newlifefinearts.org/celestialcity.
More About Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts
Based in a former school building, the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts is a multimedia arts center in downtown Concord. The center offers dozens of art programs and dance classes for adults and children. The center also hosts birthday parties. Twice a year, artists hold open studio events. Facilities include a 400-seat theater that is available for rent for special events.