â€œLove Donâ€™t Live Here Anymore,â€ a gospel musical, tackles many tough subjects, including teen pregnancy and spousal abuse.
The story is framed around a pastorâ€™s neglected family.
â€œHeâ€™s caught up in his community, in his church work,â€ said Ivey Robinson, the playâ€™s writer, director and producer. â€œHeâ€™s caught up in everything but his family.â€
Those who attend will see what happens when family is put last.
â€œThereâ€™s so much hell breaking loose in the house,â€ said Robinson. â€œThe house is falling apart.â€
The pastorâ€™s youngest daughter, who is 17, rebels and ends up pregnant. His other daughter is in an abusive marriage and addicted to drugs. And his sonâ€™s new fiancee? Turns out heâ€™s a man.
â€œIt deals with so many realities in life,â€ said Calandra Bryant, who plays Mamma P.
Many of the realities are things the cast themselves have dealt with. Lakeyshia Patterson, who plays the youngest daughter, experienced teen pregnancy first- hand.
â€œI was that person,â€ she said. â€œI had a child and it was very hard. It felt like no one understood me.â€
Although characters in the play may gossip and judge, the ending message is that all can be forgiven. Even Mark, the abusive husband, isnâ€™t painted as a villain.
â€œ(The church) shouldnâ€™t turn anyone away, because God created and made all of us,â€ said Robert Smyre, who plays Mark.
The musical includes 14 mini-songs and four well known gospel numbers sung by the main characters.
Thomas Ramseur, who plays the pastor, is one of the only actors who doesnâ€™t sing. His life experience, however, makes up for it. Ramseur is an associate minister at Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
He believes that many people donâ€™t understand the work that goes into being a minister. Like the pastor in the play, Ramseur acknowledges that sometimes the most important things can be neglected.
â€œI think (the pastorâ€™s) purposefully driven to a point heâ€™s blind to the surroundings of his family,â€ said Ramseur. â€œEverythingâ€™s about the congregation.â€
The writer, director and producer of the play also has some insight into the inner workings of a pastor. Sheâ€™s in charge of the churchâ€™s new convert ministry and substance abuse ministry.
She hopes her play wins souls over for Christ this Saturday.
â€œWeâ€™re expecting mighty things from God that day and time,â€ she said.
The homemaker and mother of two children has written a total 10 musicals. The Hickory Community Theater will perform two of her works next year.
Despite many of the playâ€™s serious themes, Robinsonâ€™s dialogue keeps things relatively upbeat.
â€œIf you donâ€™t laugh, somethingâ€™s wrong,â€ said Patterson.
Want to go?
The musical is being put on by Providence Missionary Baptist Church and will be performed at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday at the James W. Warren Citizens Center.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Groups of 10 or more will be charged $8. A portion of the proceeds will go to Relay for Life.
Shanna Ramseur, an actress, (left) receives direction from the playâ€™s writer and producer, Ivey Robinson. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
by Sarah Grano