Burning Coal Theatre Company to Present THE JESUS FUND, 1/30-2/16

Burning Coal Theatre Company of Raleigh, NC will present the world premiere of Terry Milner's The Jesus Fund January 30 through February 16, 2014. Performance dates are Thursdays through Saturdays, January 30 - February 1, February 6 - 8 and February 13 - 15 at 7:30 pm and Sundays, February 2, 9 and 16th at 2 pm. Tickets are $25, or $20 for seniors (65+) and $15 for students. All Thursday night tickets are $15. Sunday, February 2 at 2 pm is Pay What You Can day and will be audio described for the sight impaired. Tickets may be purchased by calling 919.834.4001 or by visiting www.burningcoal.org.

Milner lived in Chapel Hill for more than a decade. There, he worked as one of two partners in a small law firm. He was later named Executive Director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference, a statewide consortium of theatres. As an actor, Terry has trained with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and has performed with Burning Coal Theatre Company in Watership Down, The Man Who Tried To Save the World and Travesties (the latter both in Raleigh and at the Piccolo Spoletto Festival in Charleston, SC). Terry moved to New York City several years ago while his life partner began divinity school studies. They later moved to Oregon, where Terry began to write plays. The Jesus Fund is his first effort. He sent an early draft of it to Burning Coal and Artistic Director Jerome Davis asked Terry if Burning Coal could produce it. Shortly thereafter, Terry applied to and was accepted into the graduate playwriting program at New York University.

The Jesus Fund stars Gregor McElvogue as Dr. Michael Brand, a tempestuous left of center religious scholar who teaches at a small, liberal seminar nestled in the heart of lower Manhattan. The seminary, under the guidance of the aging Dr. Audrey Lathrop (Tom McCleister), has recently found itself on rough financial footing. When an ex-student of the seminary, Dr. David Padgett (David Henderson) returns to the school with an offer of financial salvation, the school must decide between principles and survival. Padgett is the son of a right-wing Televangelist who's fire and brimstone theology flies in the face of everything Brand, Lathrop and the seminar stand for. But what good is it to stand for something at the expense of your own existence? Ian Finley, Carly Jones and Rajeev Rajendran round out the cast.

Beth Gardiner of New York City will direct the six person cast. The lighting will be by New York City-based Joyce Liao, who recently lit Man of La Mancha for Burning Coal. The scenery and costumes will be designed by Coal newcomers Michael Minehan and Caitlin Cisek, both of New York. The sound designer is Raleigh's Aharon Segal, who recently designed The Heretic for Burning Coal, and props will be created by Raleigh's Elizabeth Newton, who recently designed (Three Man) Tempest for Burning Coal. The stage manager will be Hellena Schiavo of Raleigh. Mia Carson of Cary will serve as Assistant Director and Colorado native Ilana Rozin will serve as production dramaturg.

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