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Local faith-based production tackling tough topics

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wilton Mitchell Jr. started writing “Follow Me: the Gospel of Jesus Christ” while he was in high school. With the help of Royal Curtain Drama Guild and a cast full of local actors and singers, the play is now coming to life.

“It’s written like a Broadway-style musical except it’s all gospel music,” Mitchell says. “It deals with a lot of issues. Of course alcoholism, drug abuse, single parenthood, suicide, all of these issues that sometimes get swept under the rug at churches.”

Mitchell says the words and songs are intended to help people dealing with issues to heal and to show them they’re not alone.

The play also turns the mirror on church people and church culture.

“Often we say we are Christians, but we don’t act like Christians. We judge people, we talk about them, we look down on them because they have issues. But they have issues because they have been through situations that caused them to have those issues,” he said.

Royal Curtain Drama Guild founder and CEO Stephanie Hurt says this play is everything she ever thought faith-based productions should be.

“Our mantra is saving souls and transforming minds one production at a time,” Hurt said.

She says the play is personal for the people in it.

“With this production, they’re coming from a place where some of them have dealt with before. They’re coming from a place where they’ve seen family members who’ve dealt with these types of issues we’re going to talk about in this play,” Hurt said.

“Many times in rehearsals, the music is going and we’re singing and before we know it, tears are coming out of our eyes and we are literally worshipping in the middle of rehearsal,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes we stop rehearsal and we’d just pray together, or people would give their testimonies and those are the best parts of it because people are actually getting healing.”

Mitchell wants people to see themselves in the play. He also wants them to see the people sitting next to them in the pew Sunday morning.

“You actually see the change and see that it is possible to ... If you actually love them and don’t judge them,” Mitchell said.

“If everybody could just take away a new identity of who they are in Christ, those who know him, and being a better example for those who don’t know him so they can realize, 'It’s not too late to make a life change for myself,' that would be my prayer answered,” Hurt said.

There are three showings of the play: Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

All three shows are at Parkland Magnet High School in Winston-Salem. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.

For more information, check out their website.

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