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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."
Jesus People Revolution article 21

The Origins of a New Christian Multi-Media Theatrical Show

- England UK

 
Sue Palosaari Cowper:

“When Jim diverted from the script at a ‘How the Jesus People Came Alive’ concert, inviting Christians to join him on stage, I witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit – and an idea hit me.

What if we incorporated more of our team in a dramatic show? When we returned home that evening I kept Jim up half the night spinning how we could develop everyone's testimonies into a full-blown show, no longer just a spoken testimony, but a living testimony through a variety of characters.  I pitched the idea to use everyone—not just Fred and the Sheep, Siv & Irene and Dave; the standard threesome of music/testimony and preaching, but the whole group. We'd need a plot, of course, and music – it would be a musical!

The story of the West Coast Jesus movement! We would come into a town on advance publicity, hire the largest venue, put up posters, hand out fliers, plug radio announcements, changing-up previous notions of evangelism. Our show would reach part of a society that had become an unchurched nation of less than 7% of the population attending Christian places of worship. We'd invite the audience into the story – not just preach to or at them. Wearied by my excited ramblings, Jim agreed to talk it over with Mr. Frampton, just to get some sleep.

A week later, Jim presented the idea to Mr. Frampton, and it was accepted. Not long afterwards, Jim, David Hoyt, Mike Damrow, Greg Nancarrow, Henry Huang and several others met in the upstairs Westow St. office building to share ideas for a script. I arrived late with the writing already underway. I was pregnant, had been ill all morning, Jed was cranky and needing to go home – so I returned to Beulah Hill.

I've regretted I didn't help write the script. My name wasn’t even on the program – but an idea had been birthed in my heart when I saw the power of our ministry team on stage at the end of what was then ‘How the Jesus People Came Alive’.” 

New Idea & Script Writing:

Sue’s idea was a good one! Jim had a strong theatrical background and knew the power of mixing things up with different characters for people to relate to.

Mike Damrow playing guitar

Our gathering to pull together the main components for characters and a script created another opportunity to be ‘unified in spirit’ with a diversity of ideas flying around the room. This dynamic required good behavior and respect for one another, even if the ideas generated were not all used. What rose to the top, with group consensus, would be what we’d use.

One of the team’s songwriters, Mike Damrow had a cluster of ideas that were affirmed in our brainstorming session. From Mike’s stay in a flat in Venice Beach California a number of seed ideas emerged. The character ‘Bear’ in the show came from a resident drug-dealer called ‘Dancing Bear’.  The ‘Vegetarian’ character from another building resident – a die-hard vegetarian who’d cut off his trigger-finger to avoid the draft. The ‘Transcendental Meditation’ character was another local resident.  The ‘Old Lady’ was one of the people who’d witnessed to Mike in San Bernardino.

In our session I mentioned an event I’d witnessed at a peaceful anti-war protest on San Francisco’s Haight Street when police descended on several hippie marchers with billy-clubs beating them without cause. This idea was translated into ‘the fight scene’ in Lonesome Stone where the character ‘Stone’ is beaten for apparently no reason – to the tune of ‘For What It’s Worth’ by Buffalo Springfield. We also talked about northern and southern California beach baptisms and decided to film our own. Jim P. and others chimed-in and by the time we left the office building that day – we’d roughed out the plot and we’d soon settle on a name for the show.

The Heart and Soul of ‘Lonesome Stone’ the Rock Musical

We named the multi-media musical ‘Lonesome Stone’. Our original concert, ‘How the Jesus People Came Alive’ was its precursor. LS would add depth and characters, choreography, new song writing, the use of shorter thematic tunes, require a cast, support crews and involve many more participants. In essence, Jim’s original idea and Sue’s expanded idea were merging into a new whole. The core story of a generation’s search for meaning, reality, and spiritual truth remained the same. The show took the audience on a journey from the ideals of searching non-conformists, flower children, and hippies to unwelcome dark paths where they encountered evil, greed, bad drugs, violence, false teachers and disillusionment. As the show progressed, a miracle of redemption would unfold as different cast members came to faith in Jesus Christ.  A powerful ingredient of LS was its cast, comprised of actual ‘Lonesome Stones’ who had encountered these experiences first hand; now changed, offering an alternative to a dream destined to fail.

The production was sponsored by Deo Gloria Trust (a Christian benevolent trust) founded by Mr. & Mrs. K.P. Frampton in the early 1960’s. We were given the benefit of a professional range of equipment, lighting, choreography and directing. The show was a combination of drama, an ingenious computerized light show, contemporary music, and new songs written for ‘Lonesome Stone’. The amount of sacrificial work, love, finances and heart put into the show was enormous.

Actor holding gun to man's head

The cast and majority of those helping were not paid with the exception of the choreographer and director. I made the mistake of teasingly asking Jim Palosaari, “How did we get all these individuals to volunteer their time?”  Quickly Jim got me into a head-lock saying, “A little friendly persuasion, David.” Thankfully he was using the prop-gun for the show! It deserves saying, in spite of Jim barking orders, that he most often did so with an endearing sense of humor. Jim and I forged a bond of friendship that would last. I am indebted to him as a friend who reached out to and accepted me as a wounded Christian.

The work ahead seemed overwhelming in the beginning.

We rented the Sundown Theatre in Brixton and began the rigors of rehearsals, choosing songs, and distributing parts and lines. Quickly we learned that most of us didn’t have a clue about acting or how a theatre production came together, with the exception of Jim P., our recently hired director Ian Mc Donald, and choreographer, Rufus. When the directing team began whipping us into shape, we were in shock at how much personal and group scene work needed to be done. All of us worked hard. Thankfully, Caroline Greene, who previously acted and sang in Hair, came on board as a singer and actress, which meant at least one of us knew what to do.

Man playing piano Larry playing guitar

 As the song choices fell into place we were off to a London studio to lay down our first LoneSome Stone cast album. The recording sessions went well with Greg and Mole’s musical expertise.  Other band members from ‘The Sheep’ added their talents along with  Mary Damrow, Siv Algotsson, Irene Barker,  Fred Gartner, Caroline Greene – all doing a great job.  A few of us had difficulty with our takes, but we learned in time. There was a lot going for our entire team.  In addition to recording, we needed to film the baptism, tighten our rehearsals, finalize posters, develop LS show programs, decorate several double-decker buses, and run an ad campaign to launch the show at the Rainbow Theatre. Securing the Rainbow for two months was unheard of, as it was normally booked for shorter periods, or one night concert gigs. Negotiating and leasing the theatre for this extended period of time was another indicator we were in the center of God’s plan. This would be our launching pad.

 SONG WRITERS

Songs for the show were written by Mike Damrow, Greg Nancarrow, Rich Haas, Dave Hoyt, Joe Greier & David Eden, Randy Stonehill, Andrae Crouch, John Phillips, and Gerry Goffin & Carole King. 

Album cover Lonesome StoneLonesome Stone back album cover

The Production of ‘LoneSome Stone’ had a life of its own. The script for ‘LS’ was a collaborative effort of Arlene Czekalski, Mike & Mary Damron, Dave Hoyt, and Jim Palosaari. The script was refreshed from time to time, under the direction of Ian McDonald and Jim Palosaari.

CAST MEMBERS, STAGE CREW, SOUND CREW, COSTUME CREW, HOUSE CREW, CHOREOGRAPHY, DIRECTORS
Lonesome Stone cast list Lonesome Stone song list

The show instantly required sizeable background support which would incorporate a growing number of the Jesus Family ministry team.  It was good to see so many step-up with a commitment to excellence. What we didn’t know how to do, we rapidly learned.  In the first month of rehearsal we hadn’t figured how to do the fight scene without actually exchanging blows.  As I was in this scene and the one being wailed on – it was a good day when someone came up with the novel idea to do the fight in ‘slow –motion’ without inflicting physical harm on the character ‘Stone’. My body appreciated this wise and timely suggestion.

Baptism outing & filming

Jesus Family baptism

Finding a window for decent weather in England to film the baptism was a bit tricky. We hired a tour bus company and waited for decent weather before finalizing the outing.  The plan was to head south near Plymouth, have a beach baptism, a sandwich lunch and be off to Plymouth for a brief tour of some of the older buildings and the waterfront area.

Jim Palosaari teaching at the beach Jesus people singing at the beach Caroline Greene baptism

Caroline Greene and others being baptized in the English Channel near Plymouth, UK.

Group baptism

Jim Palosaari officiated with Jesus Family members assisting; baptizing in the Name of God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Lonesome Stone the Show

The theatrical production of Lonesome Stone began with the birth of ‘War babies in the late 1940’s – early 1950’s being born on stage with large screens showing war planes in flight with air-sirens blowing and bombs being dropped. A haunting reminder of what had occurred in World War II.

[Song Lyrics are in Italics. Some are partial; a few are not used like ‘War Babies.]

‘War Babies’ / The Sheep – lyrics & music Greg Nancarrow
Hoyt as Lonesome Stone

The show quickly fast-forwards to a generation’s search for ‘Peace & Love’ rather than hate and war. The context is San Francisco, 1967. The tour guide is Greg Nancarrow, lead singer for the Sheep. Looking out on the horizon of the Haight District he catches a glimpse of a typical late teen on the streets.

 “Lonesome stone he’s so proud and cold – but he’s just nineteen years old!  He’s seen it all – done his most – Lonesome’s just a walking ghost. He thinks he is a genius, mind as quick as grease – all he lacks is faith and love and a little peace . . . [chorus]

Oh what will he do with his life?

Oh what will he do with his life?”     

 ‘Lonesome Stone’ - lyrics  & music / Mike Damrow

Spinning off this gutsy tune we hear the pristine voice of Caoline Greene.

 “If you're goin’ to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, if you’re going to San Francisco you’re gonna meet some gentle people there. All across the nation, there’s a strange vibration, people in motion, people in motion. There’s a whole generation with a new explanation – people in motion . . .”

Caroline Greene singing
 ‘San Francisco’ -lyrics & music / John  Phillips

Caroline exudes the best of ‘Flower power’ idealism and draws us into a time when the dream was still alive.

Larry Barker aka (Mole) is the high energy vegetable lover. His pitch for artichokes, avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, and asparagus carries effortlessly into song.

Organo Man

 

“Slip me a carrot, daddy, or a squash if you’re able. I don’t want no hamburger patty – I got to have my vegetables.
I get high on peppers and eggplant, cauliflowers every hour – and do not let us forget the lettuce, organic grown will give you the power. O I gotta, gotta, gotta have my vegetables every day!  Yes, I gotta, gotta, gotta have my vegetables everyday!!”

‘Vegetables’ - lyrics & music / Randy  Stonehill
Man playing guitar

“Where do we go from here? I gotta know right now. Does it matter anyhow?”

Stone is pessimistic.

“There’s a thousand roads to take.
Is there one that’s meant for me? 
There’s a thousand plans to make.
Will they help me in eternity?
Is there something in the stars?
Is there someone in control?
Do I have to go to Mars – to end
This searching of my soul?
Is there any right or any wrong?
Is there any black or white?
Or is there only shades of gray?
What would happen if I died tonight?
Where do we go . . . . . ?”

lyrics & music  /Greg Nancarrow / Larry Barker
Bear and Queenie

Next up ‘Queenie’ and ‘Bear’. Bear played by Fred Gartner and Queenie by Mary Damrow are two flamboyant characters as large as life. Queenie and Bear embody what’s sour on the streets of San Francisco. They’re the wheeling and dealing drug duo. “If you want action baby, this is the place!” Bear’s and Queenie’s fancy outfits reveal the disparity between those they’re exploiting and their flim-flam spiel that squeezes money out of their victims “My business is dealing, my acid is strong. My dope is the best you can find in the Haight. I call her the Queen. You can see she’s got class.  We’re partners in business – she handles the cash."

‘Bear Boogie’ - lyrics & music / Mike Damrow

There’s something sinister and evil about life on the streets. You never know what will happen next. The good guys might be the bad guys. Your friends might turn on you or leave you in your time of need. They may forget about you as you lie there in a pool of blood. 

Fight scenes Drug bust scene

“There’s something’s happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear. There’s a man with a gun over there, tellin’ me – I got to beware.

It’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look, what’s going down . . .

There’s battle lines being draw
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down . . .

What a field day for the heat – A thousand people in the street – Singing songs and carrying signs . . Mostly saying, hooray for our side – paranoia strikes deep – into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid – you step out of line – the man comes and takes you away.

We better stop, hey, what’s that’s sound – everybody look what’s going down.

‘For What It’s Worth’ - lyrics & music /Buffalo Springfield
Hippie facing group

 ‘Milwaukee Rich’ is finding the street people are getting weirder, crazier! Taunting him, they jeer and hiss, obsessed with freaking him out. He’d come here looking for ‘Peace and Love’—not some kind of freak show.

As nighttime falls on the Haight District the demons come out to sport their wares. The hustle begins. What used to be safe is not. Sounds of gunshots split the air; blood on the sidewalk is commonplace. Street people get ripped off, free-love givers discarded; where do we go from here?

When hope and truth are in short supply God shows up – transforming the worst of the lot. Who’d have guessed, the wild and outrageous drug-dealer ‘Bear’ would be the first to make a break with his old life; an unlikely candidate to become a friend of God. His passion to share what he’s discovered forces the question, Is Bear the real-deal, or is ‘Jesus’ just another scam in Bear’s bag of tricks?

Scenes of Bear witnessing

Queenie and Stone, Milwaukee and Lisa are listening but not convinced yet. Bear always was somebody you couldn’t trust. None the less, they’re each thinking about the change in ‘Bear’. “He doesn’t look as evil as he used to,” Milwaukee ponders.

Stone turns his thoughts into song, “ I went looking for love and a place to live, in a world—had nothing to give—And the streets have hurt me and let me down, can’t you see—well I’m a lonesome, lonesome – just a stone .”

Slim sings, “San Francisco ain’t the place for amazing Grace, Bear I think you’re acting like a clown.”  On the outside Slim’s acting tough, but on the inside something’s going on as he reflects on younger years.

Greg playing guitar

“I think I’m going back, to the Lord I knew so well in my youth, I think I’m returning to the days when I was young enough to know the truth.

Back when I knew God made all the flowers grow.
The sun and sky were there, because He loved me so. His joy and peace could chase away the fear, and Jesus was a name I loved to hear.

O, I can recall when I wasn’t afraid to reach out for His hand. When any sorrow came, only Jesus seemed to understand.
So let other men debate their true realities,
because I’ve found the truth back where it used to be.

It’s the simple things He gives – I find I lack
So catch me if you can, I’m going back.
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong. They are weak and He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so. 
It’s the simple things you give, I find I lack.
So catch me if you can, You know, I’m coming back.”

Goin Back’ - Lyrics Gerry Goffin & Carole King / Rewrite  Greg Nancarrow
Rich playing guitar

There’s an infusion of God’s Holy Spirit descending on this group of ‘Street People’. ‘Milwaukee Rich’ thinks about ‘Bear’ who’s become a follower of Jesus Christ.

“I remember when I last saw him on the road
And on his heart – he had such a heavy load
Now he don’t seem that way anymore
Since he’s come on back, he’s not like he was before

[Chorus]
Looks like he’s changed everything in his life
Changed everything in his life
Things he’s said, things he’s done
He now forsaken, to follow the Son

You can see the love on their face
And the peace in their eyes
And they say it all comes
From this man called Jesus Christ
And you can have all the same – if you don’t deny
That He really is – the Way the Truth and the Life
(John 14:6)”

 ‘Changes’ - lyrics & music / Rich Hass  
Stone playing guitar

Stone’s taking it all in, wondering, as God comes near.  For some unexplainable reason, Stone’s heart is softening. Through a quiet miracle – guitar in hand, a song of faith is born. 

“Well I traveled down a long and lonely road
To places where it hurt for me to go
And everybody here – has been there too
And the song that I’m singing, it’s for you.

I’m not coming on with some religious trip
I’m talking about a man named Jesus Christ
You might not understand it – but I just can’t hold it in.
I’ve never been so happy in my life.  
Now I can see . . .  Now I can see . .  Now I can see . . .

 

For God so loved you and me – that he sent His son to die upon a tree
And He has carried all our sin and shame – and we can find forgiveness in His name.

There’s really something different about the Son of God
Death could not hold him in the grave
He’s reigning now in heaven and He holds the key to life
Receive Him now – for He alone can save!
He’ll set you free . . .  He’ll set you free . . . He’ll set you free!  

‘He’ll Set You Free’ - lyrics & music / Dave Hoyt & Mike Damrow  
Queenie singing

Queenie has her own inner war to sort out:

“I have studied lives of men – hoping to discover
What could be the greatest thing – young men seek after
Some seek fortune, some seek fame – some men follow wisdom.  

What could be the greatest name, who has seen the vision?
I have to know, before I die – I ask you why
There’s something here – I realize
I see it shining in their eyes.” 

‘Lives of Men’ - lyrics & music / Mike Damrow

“Come Jesus, come – I’m ready
Come Jesus, come – and show me your way
Your truth and life . . .

So many years and seasons – so many tears and reasons
I turned away, from your gentle voice.   
Foundations laid – on this world of sand
Have all washed away to the sea and . . .
There’s nobody left here but me – and I’m not all – I thought I’d be . . .

Patiently, you stood by – watching me with each try – that I made to make it on my own.
But now as I stand – amidst my shattered dream – Somehow I think for the first time,
Yes, I think I really believe – I’m ready to receive your love. Lord, I know I’ve waited so long, but it’s not too late.”

‘Come Jesus Come’ - lyrics & music / Greg Nancarrow
white dove

Feel as free as a bird in the sky – when I’m in the Spirit, I am so high
Different ways of receiving God’s love – sometimes it soft like the beauty of a white dove

Free --- Hallejullah  I am Free – Lord, just a prayer – and you know it’s real
Hallejulah  I am free    It’s good to know,   It’s good to know,   It’s good to know
Ah ah ah ah   That you are free – and that – you always will be  
Ah ah ah ah it’s good to know that you are free – and that – you always will be

I never knew what freedom could be – until my Lord Jesus came and touched me
And when the Son of God has set you free – the Holy Spirit manifests it beauty.
 [Revealing God]

‘Free’ - lyrics & music / Mike Damrow
Group singing rejoice

Wake up, wake up – it’s the break of day
Light is shining, showing you the way
Wake up to what Jesus has to say

All your life you’ve searched to find the truth
Try to realize – He’s come for you
Don’t you realize – He’s come for you

Wake up little children and forsake your games  
You sins are forgiven you – for His Name’s sake
For you, He has paid the price
For you, He was sacrificed
Rejoice – Rejoice

Wake up old sleeping soul – your Father calls
For you can be reborn,
Washed clean and made new
God’s love can change your life by
Faith in Jesus Christ
Rejoice – Rejoice        

 ‘Rejoice’ - lyrics & music /Joe Grier & David Eden
Whole show group on stage in a line

The Adventure Begins

What will God do with this show?  How will it be received and what type of impact will it have in a country rich in theatrical heritage?  What Christian footprint will remain in the UK?

Coming Next:  We’ll have a look at ‘Lonesome Stone’ at the Rainbow Theatre and beyond on tour. We’ll document part of the ‘Jesus Revolution’, told by those who lived it with personal testimonies from cast members and the words of some who attended Lonesome Stone. What was it like living at the Jesus Family House at Beulah Hill, participating in this type of outreach? And what happened to participants with the passing of many years in the UK and elsewhere?

Collage of Lonesome Stone programs and painted bus Cast hugging under Jesus saying: A new command I give you: Love one another.

Deo Gloria – To God Be the Glory  

To Be Continued


Read previous installments in David Hoyt's
"Jesus Revolution" Series:

Part 1: Jesus People Days

Part 2: A Cry Rushed Upward to a Place Called Heaven

Part 3: Ripe for Change and Heart Revolution

Part 4: Recollections of My Search for Truth

Part 5: My Search - A Prelude to Finding God

Part 6: A Search for God Unraveling

Part 7: An Appointment with God

Part 8: Launched into a New Life

Part 9: A Steep Learning Curve

Part 10: God - An Incredible Teacher

Part 11: Lancaster - A Desert Call

Part 12: Back in the City - San Francisco

Part 13: The SF Bay Area Jesus People Movement - Episode One

Part 14: The SF Bay Area Jesus People Movement - Episode Two

Part 15: Mission in Our Blood

Part 16: Crossroads

Part 17: Our Decision - Their Agenda

Part 18: Over My Head

Part 19: Dark Night of the Soul

Part 20: Spiritual Life Bursting Forth


Description: Dave Articles.jpg

                      
                                                               
Dave Hoyt and his wife Ginny reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up a troubled teen in Los Angeles. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco’s ‘Haight District’ seeking truth and God. Reaching a crisis of belief in Eastern Religions – he turned to prayer and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He went on to be an early participant in the Jesus People Movement in the USA and Europe. He continues as a follower of Jesus Christ.

 

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Last Update: 2017-07-24 18:59