Can old and young worship together? Play focuses on changes in the church

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Charlayne Henry Productions in association with A Sistas Thang did it again.

As usual, Henry brings real life situations to the stage. This time the talented writer, producer, actress and singer chose to showcase the cat fights, jealousy and unity that is commonplace in African- American churches throughout America.

“Let The Church Say Amen” is a two-act play that focused on five older, long-time Nothing But The Truth Church members who have prayed for new members. When some young people come into the church and start changing things with their new way of worship, the older members are sorry they got what they prayed for.

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DIFFERENCES—The young and old people in the church argue as Pastor Get It Right, played by James Graham, looks on.

To get things back the way they used to be, the elders hold a board meeting to take a vote on keeping the young people or pushing them out of the church.

The majority of the board members wanted the young members out.

Some of those members included Sister Sure Nuf, played by up-and-coming actress Deborah Spruiel, Sister Sureyourright, played by Lillian Cannon, Cannon is now being managed by Charlayne Henry Productions and will soon be featured in a live one-woman show and DVD taping.

Gina Johnson played comical Sister Hushyourmouth, head of the board of directors and the oldest, most faithful member of the church. She is the one who spearheaded the effort to banish the youngsters from the church.

Still, some board members are on the fence about having the younger generation at the church. Brother Do Whatever, is played by Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate Michael Williams. This is Williams’ debut performance with the production.

“I’m happy the young people are coming to the church but they are different with the clothes they wear and the music they sing but they bring value to the church,” said Brother Do Right, played by Zoran Harris.

Harris is a staple in Henry’s productions. The Pittsburgh native is a member of Rapha Ministries of the Apostolic Faith. He is also A Sistas Thang Productions director of props and scenery when he isn’t on stage.

On the flip side, the young people in the church, who were recruited by longtime member Renee, feel that the elderly people of the church need to modernize the way they praise the Lord.

During a youth discussion at the church, the young people rebelled against the way the older congregation members worshiped.

“The older saints are stuck and out of touch with what’s happening today,” said Jasmine, who was played by the sassy Lorraine Queen.

Queen lives in Duquesne. “Let The Church Say Amen” was her debut performance with the company.

As a result of the conflict, both groups rush to meet with Pastor Get It Right to prove their point and get him to make a decision on the situation.

Pastor Get It Right, played by James Graham, tells both groups to work out the conflict among themselves.

After much arguing and fussing, the groups come together and write a song for the pastor proving that they can worship together.

The show ran for two days—March 22-23 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Despite the lack of microphones, confusing character names and ringing cell phones throughout the opening-night performance, the message that worshipping God can take place in many forms, was still delivered.

Other members of the production included Ra Vaun Queen who portrayed new church member, Darnella; Jessica Whittington who played Renee; and Layla Robinson who played Tracy.

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