‘The Sutton’s Return’ is the stage performance running each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through July at New Life Ministries on 7th and Sproul in Chester.

As is their custom, there are dozens of young people dancing, acting, and performing a very long and complex play that’s both entertaining, uplifting, and ripped right from the pages of many of us who have dealt with the drama of large families, adoption, teen pregnancy, bad boyfriends, and that crazy uncle.

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My policy for covering events is if I don’t like it, I won’t write anything about it. Obviously, you’re reading this post so you already know I liked it.

They caught me on an evening after working a 12 hour shift in the heat and humidity, and having to go back for more the next day, I wasn’t sure if I could make it all the way through the play. Just my luck, the start of the play was delayed due to an equipment malfunction which had me nearly nodding off. Finally, when the lights were turned down and the music was turned up, out came the dancers with their complex choreography, big smiles, endless energy, and slamming music. It was like a shot of adrenaline that keep me up until the end.

I’m not going to tell you about the play other than it was great, the dancing was insane, the costumes were creative, the acting was excellent, and the story was easy to follow – maybe a little long – but you certainly get your money’s worth.

Part of the story is a clash of cultures between the United States and South Africa. The costumes, makeup, and accents reflecting Africa ran throughout the play and were very convincing and done with a lot of skill.

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Although the play covers a very serious family matter, the family members are hilarious. One character stood out to me. I never thought I’d say this, but this guy out ‘Urkled’ Steve Urkle from the old sitcom ‘Family Matters.’ It was obvious that was the persona he was going for and he absolutely crushed it.

I didn’t come to the play with an open mind. I was tired, hungry, and irritated. It put a lot of pressure on the people on stage to entertain me, make me pay attention, make me laugh, and most importantly make me stay.

The very last dance number was so intense that I almost passed out for them. Only young folks could pull that off because us old folks would have exited Stage Left.

Here’s what needs to happen…

I know almost every church in Chester takes bus trips to see gospel plays in Philly, Baltimore, New York, Lancaster, and wherever. Let’s see how many Chester churches can schedule a trip to 7th and Sproul to see one of the best gospel plays performed anywhere in the country by a bunch of young black boys, girls, and teens who need to see your faces in the crowd to encourage them to continue to do great things.

I’m sure New Life Ministries will extend a group discount to your church, social club, senior center, or even big family, to have you come and support our young people.

Did I mention that the play was long? It took a lot of time to rehearse for this play. There’s a lot of dialog, a lot of costume changes, and a whole lot of dancing. These kids could be doing a lot of other things, but they gave their time and effort to entertain you.

The only thing missing is you.

Contact New Life Ministries International – 610.874-8752. 77 West 7th Street, Chester, PA.

Tell em I sent you.

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