‘God’s Favorite’ coming to Stained Glass Theatre

Sara Benjamin (played by Kayla Norton) cries at the feet of her ailing father, Joe Benjamin (played by Rob Hargis) while Mady and Morris (played by Tammy Stains and Thom Kirk respectively) look on in the theatrical production “God’s Favorite” put on by the Stained Glass Theatre.

Sara Benjamin (played by Kayla Norton) cries at the feet of her ailing father, Joe Benjamin (played by Rob Hargis) while Mady and Morris (played by Tammy Stains and Thom Kirk respectively) look on in the theatrical production “God’s Favorite” put on by the Stained Glass Theatre. Katie Alaimo/News Tribune

What: “God’s Favorite,” performed by Stained Glass Theatre

Where: 830 E. High St. in Jefferson City

When: Jan. 23-Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; at 2 p.m. Saturdays

Tickets: $9 per person; opening night $7 per person, 573-634-5313.

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Stained Glass Theatre is presenting the hilarious contemporary morality tale “God’s Favorite,” written by Neil Simon.

The play is a take-off of the biblical story of Job and the temptations God puts in his life.

In Simon’s comedy, the man tempted is Joe Benjamin, a successful businessman, played by Rob Hargis.

Benjamin has a demanding wife, ungrateful children and an uncooperative household staff. Still, a messenger from God, played by Steve Seldman, comes to him from God to test his faith.

Benjamin suffers various physical ailments such as pain and itching, people stop paying him and he loses his business. He has to sell his belongings and his entire family suffers. To add insult to injury, his house burns at the end of Act 1.

Rose, his wife, played by Robin Riley, decides she has had enough and tells him if he doesn’t denounce God, she will renounce him. This leads to the climax of the play.

Filling out the cast are Ray Vachter and Kayla Norton as the children and Thom Kirk and Tammy Stains as the butler and maid.

Director Gail Clements said the show is a knee-slapper with a lot of physical comedy.

There are some special effects that were a challenge for the group, such as the burning of the house and the messenger appearing through the fireplace.

Clements said they modified the burning of the house by dialogue that describes the fire as mainly on the second floor. This allows them to make the first floor set look like it has suffered burn damage during the intermission.

She said they put the comedy in current time, not the ’70s when it was written, and this made costuming easy.

Clements particularly noted Mike Harvey and his set construction talents, which again helped to make the play a success.

Assistant director is JoDonn Chaney. He has appeared on stage and served on the board of directors of the group, but this is his first time trying his hand at directing.

Chaney said wanted to support the theater and decided to help by acting as assistant director.

“The experience is very much as I thought it might be,” he said.

“Being a director gives you a vision of the stage and you get to see this vision go from paper to reality as the set is framed and painted and the costumes and furniture come together,” Chaney said.

Both Clements and Chaney said the play shows the frustrations and tests that every family faces.

“I hope I would be as strong as Benjamin when tempted,” Clement said.

While the play is a comedy, there is a message put forth.

“There is hope at the end of the story, and there is hope in life,” Clements said.

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