The Gospel of John – Friday, March 15, 2013

Join us at Nichols-Bethel United Methodist Church (1239 Murray Road, Odenton MD) on Friday, March 15, 2013 from 7:00pm to 9:30pm as Brad Sherill presents The Gospel of John. A single man. Every single word. Unforgettable theater. Tickets are $10 per person and are available by contacting the church office at 410-674-2272.  Nursery service will be available.

Excerpts from  THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION Review on  Sunday, Jan.14, 2001. "The Book of John, by heart – All 20,000 words of it" by Kathy Janich

Atlanta actor Brad Sherrill first thought about dramatizing the Gospel of John in early 1999.

In “The Gospel of John,” Sherrill is the entire cast. He commands the stage for two hours, using only his voice and body and a few props-a rustic table, a chair, an oil lamp, a basin of water, a bucket of rocks (“How else do you stone the adulteress?”)-to tell a story that moves him and, he hopes, will touch others.

The evangelist’s words resonate with Sherrill, who says the Bible’s fourth Gospel has been “whispering” at him for some time, that it “wouldn’t leave me alone,” that he’s “on fire about it.”

“It’s a compelling story,” the actor says, his brown eyes narrowing and beam­ing with purpose as he discusses the 2,000-year-old text. “Regardless of your beliefs, it is the most compelling story. A man came to Earth and lived very quietly until about the age of 29, and then he said he was God’s son. He performed miracles. And the political climate was such that he was put to death because he was a rebel.

“John seems to be after something bigger. It’s the only  Gospel that presents Christ as God, which is still a pretty bizarre notion to try to wrap your brain around: ‘He is the son of God, but he is also God on Earth.’”

With Sherrill’s “Gospel of John,” there is little set and minimal lighting or costumes (he’ll probably wear jeans and a casual shirt). There’s no script, just the 20,000 or so words that make up the Gospel, the one written by Jesus’ apostle named John, the one people usually find the most poetic, the most moving and the most accessible. Sherrill has memorized every one of those 20,000 words – it took 4½ months to get them into his head, and they require a daily refresher course to stay there.

Sherrill sees his audience as “people who think they may be interested in the Bible. People who are interested in seeing good theater and trying to see if one guy can do it. I’m  not just doing this for believers,” he says.

Sherrill has been acting pro­fessionally since 1983.

“I began acting at the church I still go to (First United Methodist in Chamblee) when I was 11. I know that, had I not been raised in that community and introduced to theater at that early an age, I might not be an actor. So this is something of giving back.”

Sherrill says “The Gospel of John” found him, not vice versa. “I feel that I was called to do something sacred, biblical.  My challenge was … to bring a sacred old, old, old book to life!”

Brad Sherrill

Since 2001, Brad Sherrill has performed The Gospel of John over 600 times in churches, cathedrals and theaters across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., including a six-week run off-Broadway at New York City’s historic Lamb’s Theatre and at professional theaters in Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto and Atlanta. International performances have included many large, historic cathedrals in Europe such as Westminster Cathedral (London, 2007), Christ Church Cathedral (Dublin, 2008) and St. Peter’s Cathedral (Belfast, 2008.) Brad has premiered new works in recent years including Prophets (at Georgia Shakespeare, Atlanta, 2010) and Red Letter Jesus (at Theatre in the Square, Atlanta, 2012) and now presents all three performances in venues nationwide.

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