“Church Mess” gives crowds wholesome spiritually-based theatrical entertainment

If you’re one of those Christians that believe it is a sin to laugh, think again.

“Church Mess,” the play is produced by A Wealthy Place Arts and Theatre Company, Co-creators, co-producers and co-writers, Dr. Chad Everette Cooper and his wife Alicia Robinson Cooper, both Florida A&M University alumni, brought the “Church Mess” back home.

Dr. Cooper stated, “People in church are too serious. We need to get to the point that we can laugh at ourselves because we have the victory… its OK to laugh in church.”

Depicting characters, from a desperate and financially strapped college student having an affair with the deacon, to a playboy minister of music with a secret life outside the church, First Church on the Right Born unto Christ has it all together.

“This play brings home the truth about what really goes on in the church,” said Terrance Harris, a third year Business Administration student from West Palm Beach.

Cooper, who received the vision to start A Wealthy Place Arts and Theatre Company in 2000, decided to take what his church (United Gospel Fellowship), had started in Tallahassee to another level.

Moving the church to Miami, along with several FAMU alumni, Kofi Hemmingway, Ryan Elliot, Damion Seard and wife Falisha Seard to name a few, began putting together the plans for what is today A Wealthy Place Arts and Theatre Company. In 2002 they began working on their first major production and in 2005, “Church Mess” hit the stage.

“Church Mess is a fun way for people to get good wholesome entertainment, it’s a comedic look at church life and gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves.” said Dr. Eva Wonton, assistant to the interim president who was responsible for the tour stop in Tallahassee.

Alicia Robinson Cooper, the featured national recording artist is the lead singer of “He’s My Rock” by John P. Kee and the VIP Choir’s “Lilly in the Valley,” is also CEO of A Wealthy Place.

She said, A Wealthy Place is focused on family and God. “Its just like the pulpit but on stage,” Cooper stated.

“We want to produce quality entertainment on the level of secular productions without compromising.”

“With all of the problems in the church today, ‘Church Mess’ shows that the power of God can deliver and restore anyone,” said “Church Mess” director Dawn Thompson.

A Wealthy Place looks forward to taking “Church Mess” to Broadway, and is currently working to reach out to arts and theatre programs and young actors, hoping to provide scholarships.

Dr. Cooper said that there are two other productions in the making, “Church Mess 2: I’m Trying To Be Delivered,” to begin touring in 2006, and “I Hate My Baby’s Mama, I Hate My Baby’s Daddy, But I Love God.” scheduled to hit the stage in 2007.

Contact Raymond Isham at Raymond1.Isham@famu.edu