In two years, the Grace InFused Theatre Festival went from the drawing table to a full day event at the Columbus Performing Arts Center on Aug. 6. The festival, which promotes gospel-based productions, drew close to 100 people to a six-hour presentation that featured the world-premiere of STAINed Glass, a table reading of PRODIGAL BROTHERS, two monologues by Howi Tiller and the music of Joe Hendrickson.
PRODIGAL BROTHERS, Steven Peterson's interpretation of the story of the Prodigal Son, walked away with the JacK Gilbert Award for the festival's best play. Gilbert, a distinguished Christian writer and writing coach in Hollywood, was a long-time advocate of fusing mainstream arts and entertainment with the Gospel message.
Peterson's play, which is still in the development stage, centers on Matt (Scott Clay) going out to Los Angeles to retrieve his younger, alcoholic brother Billy (Cory Ragan) and take him to a rehabilitation center in Chicago.
Asked by an audience member afterward how much research he had to do for the script, Peterson explained he had a family member who struggled with alcoholism.
"Unfortunately for some of those events, it didn't require a lot of research. I got to see a lot of that close up," said Peterson, who won the Julie Harris Playwrights Award twice and the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition for previous works.
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