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Davidson Community Players Offer “Benedictions” and Two Important Panel Discussions

by | Feb 27, 2019 | Arts & Entertainment, Davidson Community Players, DavidsonLearns, Top Right Box

Alan Martin as Ray and Jean Kadela as Agnes Day. (John McHugh/Ocaid Photography)

Theater in the Lake Norman area has long been synonymous with the Davidson Community Players, founded in 1965 and steadily evolving in the many decades since.

Local playwright Judy Simpson Cook’s Benedictions opened at the Armour Street Theatre on February 21 and will run through March 10. In keeping with DCP’s preference for its season opener, Benedictions asks audiences to consider several thought-provoking issues — what to do in crisis of faith; how a church relates to LGBTQ parishioners; and how we deal with tragedy and grief.

While you should bring a tissue, but you will also laugh and smile throughout this show — and have plenty to think about. Cat Rutledge, strong and believable as Presbyterian minister Jesse Warren, leads an entertaining supporting cast. Key to the fine pacing are John Pace as David Mack Kelly and Jean Kadela as Agnes Day Richardson (Simpson does like double names!).

DCP seeks and welcomes opportunities to partner with other community organizations to broaden the impact of topical productions, and Benedictions offers alliances with DavidsonLearns, a nonprofit that offers lifelong learning opportunities, and LKN Connects, Inc., a Davidson-based nonprofit organization focused on connecting the LGBTQ community in Lake Norman with resources and local events.

Before the Benedictions performance on February 25, DavidsonLearns presented a panel of Davidson faith leaders — Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, Muslim, and Christian – both Catholic and Protestant — who discussed their various religious beliefs and traditions surrounding death and grieving. DavidsonLearns board member Amy Diamond said, “As with so many of our programs and classes, the high point was finding the common areas among the various faiths, the fact that the universality of death forges more areas of agreement than disagreement.”

On February 28 and March 7, LKN Connects, Inc. will host Question and Answer sessions after the performances.

Another panel discussion will be held after the Wednesday, March 6 performance. Heather McKee, a member of the board of LKN Connects, Inc., said, “The partnership with DCP around Benedictions arose from discussions about the importance of engaging local faith communities in dialogue with the LGBTQ+ community to foster greater awareness, education, and inclusivity. We were delighted when DCP agreed to host a panel discussion in conjunction with a special performance of the play.”

The Panel Participants on March 6 are:

Rev. Dr. Scott Kenefake
Rabbi Michael Shields
Jim Anderson
Heather McKee


Meg Kimmel

A professional communicator with a long career in higher education, Meg now consults and volunteers in areas where words and images work together to tell a story. She's a proud member of Davidson's Class of 1977 and lives nearby with her husband, Don, Davidson professor emeritus of biology, with whom she shares a family grown by kinship and choice.

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