Indiana church produces female-focused, Biblical musical

(Disciples News Service, February 13, 2018)

In a world where people are becoming more aware of the inequities half the population faces, Allisonville Christian Church’s Art @ Allisonville drama program is a little ahead of the curve. In his search for a play with a strong female cast, the program’s director Steve Caress ended up commissioning a new play, The Daughters of Z, that will debut at the Indianapolis-area congregation April 27-29, 2018.

“I have noticed over the years that we tend to have more talented women available than talented men, yet the shows that we find tend to have more good male roles than female roles,” Caress said. “Having never commissioned a show before, and so not knowing any better, I decided that I would commission a musical with multiple female leads and a positive message.”

Caress met with several women leaders at Allisonville in his search for the right story to tell, which led him to read works by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (a local religious leaders and children’s book author).

“In [Sasso’s] collection of short stories, But God Remembered: Stories of Women from Creation to the Promised Land, I was drawn to ‘The Daughters of Z,’” Caress said. “It has a great message and five ready-made roles for strong women. A second, and I confess, more important to me, reason for commissioning this work was to hire my daughter, Stephanie Caress, as the composer.”

Sasso’s story is taken from the book of Numbers and features the daughters of Zelophehad, who had to petition to inherit their father’s wealth since there were no male heirs. The playwright for Allisonville’s interpretation is Georgeanna Smith Wade and the music is composed by Stephanie Grace Caress.

In this group’s search for a play, they ended up forming a nonprofit production organization in the process, called 5Z Productions.The new organization will issue performance licenses for the upcoming show, and commission more plays in the future that are “positive and life affirming…embrac[ing] values of love and mutual respect for all people.”

If you would like to produce the show in your area, or learn more about 5Z Productions, contact Caress.