Nick Enright and Max Lambert's dark musical comedy gets a revival at Sydney Opera House
Arguably churches have always functioned as businesses to a certain extent but never more nakedly than certain branches of the Christian evangelical movement in the last 50 or so years. And when the capitalist imperative combines with religious fervour what won’t a person do in the name of God? And how much hypocrisy can a ministry take?
This is the key dilemma at the centre of Nick Enright and Max Lambert's 1996 musical about a family of TV evangelists, which premiered at Sydney Theatre Company.
Ricky Truswell, his American-pie wife Lora Lee and their picture-perfect children Ricky Bob and Loretta host a weekly TV show in which they preach, sing, dance, and raise funds for a utopian theme park called Miracle City, where families of faith can pray and play together.
Enright and Lambert took inspiration from American husband-and-wife team Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, televangelists who opened the Christian theme park Heritage USA in South Carolina in 1978. Less than a decade later, their ministry and marriage were rocked by financial and sexual scandals that eventually saw the church, TV show and theme park fold.
Director Darren Yap (behind a revival at the Hayes Theatre in 2014) will re-team with Lambert himself (also involved in the Hayes revival) taking musical direction duties to bring the musical to Sydney Opera House, with a cast featuring Gus Murray and Kellie Rode, alongside Missy Higgins, Lara Mulcahy, Josie Lane, Anthony Phelan and more.