CCU Announces World Premiere of Passion Play

  • "I, Witness" Poster
Jesus is coming to Denver. The "greatest story ever told" is coming to the stage in a new play, I,Witness, by C. McNair Wilson. Colorado Christian University will present six performances of this world premiere production for Easter 2011 -- April 7-10, 2011 (the weekend before Palm Sunday weekend.)

I,Witness, is based on the novel, The Jesus Chronicles: Matthew's Story, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (authors of the best selling Left Behind series.) As a part of a year-long celebration of evangelism, the CCU School of Music approached Jerry Jenkins and he asked long-time friend C. McNair Wilson, author/playwright, to write this fresh new look at the Gospel story.

This is the story of Jesus as told by his friend Levi (later renamed "Matthew"). How does a Jewish boy, headed for the priesthood become a "publican," an employee of the Roman occupiers of Judea? As a successful tax collector, Levi, has been writing everything down for years. His note taking continues when he encounters a great "storyteller" speaking to a large crowd. Levi is captivated by the words of this "carpenter's son" and his hillside sermon. He finds Jesus outrageous, "Love your enemy." And no matter how busy he is, Jesus never misses an opportunity to stop and play with children.

"Follow me," Jesus tells Levi who joins an unlikely assortment of fishermen, former scribes, religious zealots and others. Audience members will follow Jesus disciples and witness the words and miracles of the man who interrupted human history. Some say Jesus was the long-prophesied "messiah" -- the Son of God. He was certainly a disturbance to kings and the religious establishment of the day.

I,Witness is a very human look at the familiar gospel account with moments of comedy that grow out of the behind-the-story interaction of the disciples. At the same time, I,Witness does not shy away from powerful villains and the dark, tragic events of Jesus' trial, torture, and execution on a crude wooden cross for common criminals. The play continues beyond an empty tomb to tell the whole story of Jesus life.

Long-time CCU faculty member, Sanne McCarthy, will direct this full-length play with a cast of more than thirty CCU students, alumni, and members of the Denver community. Anticipating large audiences, I, Witness will be performed on a specially built set in the CCU Event Center on the main campus in Lakewood. Though it is "open seating", tickets should be purchased in advance to be assured of seats.

I,Witness will be presented 7-10 April 2011 (only six performances) -- the weekend before Palm Sunday weekend. Audiences are invited to participate in a Q&A session follow each of the three matinees (8, 9, and 10 April) with the director, playwright, Jerry Jenkins, and selected cast members.

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