When the 40- member cast of Power in His Touch took the stage Tuesday night at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City for their first official performance of a five-night run, there was a polished sense of relief and among the performers.
Finally, this thing into which they’d poured so much effort and ardor, was out there for all the world to see.
The night capped off a long process for the show’s writer and creator, recording artist Colette Call. Power in His Touch was first a CD; then, with the help of her brother, Mike, Colette developed a full-length musical. In July, a staged reading was produced; and by early this year, the show was well on its way to being a full-blown Easter-season production. By Tuesday, almost every detail was in place, but some audio difficulties briefly weakened in the first act the impact of the outstanding vocals of the show’s leads, David Osmond and Katrina Nelson. But technical difficulties can always, as they were in this case, be overcome with the switch of a button.
What can’t be fixed with the switch of a button is the quality of writing, the strength of direction and the talent of the performers.
Those things already have to be in place when the curtain goes up. And for Power in His Touch, they were.
Power in his Touch tells the story of Kendra (Nelson), a young single mother who is unsure how to spiritually progress after a life filled with difficulties and mistakes. After being inadvertently insulted at a Christmas choir rehearsal, Kendra becomes despondent and discouraged.
Her friend, Jason (Osmond) responds by sharing a story about a woman named Sarah who lived in Biblical times during the time of Jesus Christ.
Sarah has a similar situation and attitude. Because of past mistakes and a life filled with sorrow, she feels unworthy to accept the gifts of the life of Jesus Christ.
Kendra imagines Sarah in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years earlier, learning about the life of Jesus and the people who sought to follow him and also those who sought to bring him down. Into her imagination also comes Tyras (Dan Christensen), a corrupt politician who demands Sarah for his wife, and Mordecai (Michael Richardson), his hypocritical second-in-command.
Sarah and Kendra are intertwined in common sorrows, both experiencing the sadness and uncertainty of a life without the comfort and redemption of religion. As each learns more about the ministry of Jesus Christ, they discover the way to true happiness.
The show has some of the choicest talent in the state, including Daniel Beck, a stellar vocalist who performs his songs as Jesus Christ with exquisite feeling and command. No surprise, since Beck’s performances in Episodes 2 and 3 of the Liken The Scriptures DVD series were highlights in both films. But hearing him live — his flawless, robust voice echoing through a live theater — is a treat that can’t be captured by a camera.
David Osmond (son of Alan Osmond of The Osmond Brothers) performs a lengthy string of demanding numbers with the familiar soulful warble of the Osmonds. And as Sarah, Katrina Nelson is lovely and melancholy; opposite Osmond, she generates sweet-tempered chemistry.
But in vocally challenging numbers like “Good Tidings” and “He Is the Light,” Nelson sheds her docile humility and belts out songs with ambitious force.
Call’s musical numbers move the show along nicely, especially in the second act, when some of her most superb numbers (most notably “Who Is This Man?”) emerge as richly moving musical narratives that stand as well on their own as individual songs as they do as plot-propelling devices.
Which means Call’s CD is as much worth purchasing as a ticket to the show.
Power In His Touch runs through Saturday, March 26 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City. Tickets are $15 and are available at select Arttix locations, online at HYPERLINK “http:// www.arttix.org/” \t “_blank” , or by phone at 801-355-ARTS. Children under age 8 are not permitted in the theater.
Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to charities, including The Make-AWish Foundation, the Salt Lake Interfaith Hospitality Network, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Perpetual Education Fund, The Compassionate Friends Network, The United Way of Salt Lake City, and The Granite Education Foundation.