GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls resident is bringing a classic Bible story — with a modern twist — to the stage.
Suzette Bruggeman is the writer and director of “Symphony of Life: A Musical Retelling of the Good Samaritan.”
“Symphony of Life” is an entertaining and uplifting production with an appealing, “love your neighbor” message.
Suzette said, “Well with the current atmosphere in the world, with the contention and negative feelings that seem to be abound, I wanted to write a story to help us remember the beauty of the world and how when we treat each other kindly, how much happiness and peace it brings.”
The musical features 24 cast members: all talented Great Falls, Cascade and Fairfield residents.
Great Falls Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Dick Swenson said, “The unique thing about this play is that it’s written locally, it is produced locally, its score is written locally, the actors are local, the set was made locally, but yet the premise of it is so universal.”
The story in set in ancient Jerusalem, about a Jewish tax collector named Joel who abuses his power and authority as he collects taxes from his fellow Jews. He is attacked in retribution, and his subsequent experiences as he heals in body and mind are loosely based on the parable of the Good Samaritan found in the New Testament.
Mike Mahana, behavior specialist for Cascade Public Schools and father of five, stars as Joel, the antagonistic tax collector.
He is joined by Scott Woodland, retired Master Sergeant United States Air Force and Boy Scout volunteer, as the Samaritan who finds Joel beaten on the road and brings him to an inn to heal.
Jordan Jensen, instructor at Access Fitness and mother of three, plays Hadassah, a young widow whose cheerful and caring nature is instrumental in Joel’s change of heart as she helps care for him in the inn.
Dick added, “It’s performed by people who feel these things, who believes these things.”
Suzette says it’s something everybody can enjoy no matter your faith of religious affiliation.
She added, “We explore gossiping and bullying and judging each other. I hope everyone will take away a reminder to be a little more compassionate and not jump to conclusions, to love each other.”
The performances will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building which is located at 1401 9th Street NW in Great Falls.
The performances are free to the public.
They will be held May 16 to 18 at 7 p.m., with a special matinee performance on May 18 at 11 a.m.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News