Southern Coalition for the ARTS has kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise money for a tribute run of performances of the play “Godspell” in memoriam of Jessie Elizabeth Murray, an ARTS board member who died recently after a car crash.
To further their aim, The ARTS will host a bake sale at the Logan County Courthouse Friday July 10 starting at 8 a.m.
Rachel Noe-Maynard, artistic director for the ARTS, explained, when the ARTS staged performances of “Godspell” in 2014, it was Murray’s favorite theater moment and Murray pushed for a reunion performance of that production.
“When I asked the cast of our 2014 production of “Godspell” if they would like to stage a Reunion showing in honor of Jessie, the response was a heartfelt and resounding, ‘Yes.’ Everyone was hurting and missing our Jess and being able to do her favorite show one more time, felt like a way to connect with her again and honor her and everything she held dear. She and I had been talking about working in a reunion show in the next year. We are never promised another day and I want to honor her wishes and her memory by doing this show for her,” added Noe-Maynard.
Jamie Dempsey-Butcher, managing director for the ARTS, described “Godspell” as a musical that tells the gospel of the Jesus Christ according the Saint Matthew. “The writer of this show really tried to make the gospel more accessible to the youth of time (1971), so you see Christ as a real person who lived in this world, had friends, felt betrayal, and showed love and forgiveness,” added Dempsey Butcher.
“Godspell,” the reunion tribute to Jessie Murray will play one day only: Sunday August 9 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Coalfield Jamboree Theater in Downtown Logan, W.Va.. Tickets will only be available at the Coalfield Jamboree box office on the day of the show, and they will cost $10 for everyone and all money collected will go to fund the Jessie Murray Children’s Theatre Camp.
“Jessie had three major loves in life, her Lord and Savior, theater and children. Jessie, as director of education, had pushed the ARTS to create a summer theatre camp, so we want to make sure that we complete this project in her honor,” said Dempsey Butcher.
The camp will be in the summer of 2016. For more information on the “Godspell” tribute show or to keep up with everything the ARTS is doing in the area, like the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theARTSwv or call 304-785-0547.
— Jamie Dempsey Butcher contributed to this article.