07/02/07 — New musical chronicles struggle with right choices

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New musical chronicles struggle with right choices

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 2, 2007 1:45 PM

Several years ago, Daniel Hooper started writing about possibilities and the power that comes from making wise choices in life.

The pages lay buried on his desk until his wife, Carma, discovered them one day.

"My wife picked them up and said, 'This is really good. Why don't you finish it?'" he recalls.

Hooper accepted the challenge and this weekend, "Lust of the Flesh" comes to life on the stage.

Not only did he write an ending to the play, based on the Bible passage in Exodus 19, but he also wrote all but one of the musical pieces it includes.

It could have been a risky venture, not to mention financially costly, but several people came into his life and supported the project, Hooper said. Ann and Will Smith and Sondra McFarland are also producers.

Theophany Ministries is the name of their production company. And over the past year, their premiere venture has evolved.

With a cast of 17 youths and adults plus five musicians, "Lust of the Flesh" is more than just a catchy phrase, Hooper said.

"People can interpret it any way they want," he said. "Lust comes in many forms, what our youth are faced with in our communities -- drugs, alcohol, peer pressure."

Careful not to give away the ending, Mrs. Smith said, "We have a young man who's confronted with the lust of the flesh. 'Will I succumb to it or will I say no and go back to my biblical roots?'"

"The production is going to cause people to see and hopefully recognize themselves in various situations that they may have experienced, and they may change for the better," Hooper said.

He hopes the play's appeal is a universal one.

"What we're trying to accomplish here is, not just youth but people in general, that there are alternatives to making a bad decision. Each day we live, it's important that we make the right kinds of decisions in order to be successful in life," he said.

The first performance will be Saturday night in Moffatt Auditorium at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $15 for adults in advance, $5 for children 3-10 years old. At the door, cost is $20 for adults, $7.50 for children.

Tickets are available from any cast member as well as from Royall's Classic Barbershop, WSSG and It's Fashions.

If received well, another local performance will be added at the end of the summer. In the meantime, the play is being taken on the road -- July 21 at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville and Aug. 4 at Fayetteville State University.

Proceeds will go toward continuing the ministry effort, as well as helping some of its younger performers.

"We're going to minister to our cast, provide financial support because we have some young people who need assistance for college," Mrs. Smith said.

Also on the horizon are plans to branch out and possibly focus on music, drama and the arts, Hooper said.

"Our plans are to expand and include many different areas. There are unlimited possibilities, like working with youth to do another drama next year," he said. "We're trying to provide something, but not only for the youth. ... We think it will good for the city of Goldsboro and beyond."

Seeing his creative work come together has been a challenging experience, but also a rewarding one, Hooper said.

"It's a vision, it's a dream," Smith added. "People should have a dream and should pursue it."

For more information, contact Hooper at 750-3912.