"Smart writing, appealing songs, and touching performances." –Variety
"...songs that not only move the spirit, but will have you tapping your toes" –Scarsdale Inquirer
Thom Rivers, a young doctor, returns home to Saint Heaven, Kentucky, for his father's funeral. Confronted by unhappy memories – and strong pressure to follow in his beloved father's footsteps – Thom is determined to forget the pain of his past, settle Daddy's affairs, and head back north. But his plans change when he falls in love with a black preacher show speaks in tongues. Believing her to be suffering from epilepsy, he attempts to treat her, sparking a chain of events that affect their lives and all those who live in Saint Heaven. A contemporary county, gospel, and R&B score propels this intimate and inspiring love story.
book Martin Casella • Music & Lyrics Keith Dale Gordon
Love Me Like You Mean It Darren Ritchie
Faith With the Faithful Chuck Cooper
The Gift Montego Glover
No Turning Back Kyle Gordon
Breathe In Darren Ritchie
He Don't Mean to Be So Mean Lisa Asher
Musical in Stamford is pure 'Heaven'
by Irene Backalenick–Connecticut Post
What a joy to find an exciting new musical on our doorstep.
And "Saint Heaven," booked for a brief stay at the Rich Forum in Stamford, has all the elements in place. This new piece has a first-class cast, joyous tunes and a strong love story.
Even David Korins' whimsical set strikes the right note, with its suggestion of a wooden clapboard church in a small Kentucky town.
"Saint Heaven" plunges into the tale with a gospel-like opening of "If You Believe," "End of the Road" and "Lift Me!" and never lets go of the audience from its opening moment. Not since "The Gospel at Colonnus" has the gospel sound worked so well in theater.
Keith Gordon, who wrote the music and lyrics, mines not only the gospel style, but rhythm and blues and country music. Yet the contemporarary gospel music (sung by the estimable Stamford group, the Tabernacle of Joy Gospel Choir of the Union Baptist Church) is a strong backup and weaves through the story.
'Saint Heaven,' a spirited new musical with soul
by Debra Banerjee–The Scarsdale Inquirer
Can I get a witness? Things are looking up for "Saint Heaven," the engaging new musical at Stamford Center for the Arts' Rich Forum playing through June 11. With book by Martin Casella, music and lyrics by Keith Gordon, and story by Steve Lyons, the show features a top-notch cast ad songs that not only move the spirit, but will have you tapping your toes.
...At the heart of "Saint Heaven" is the music. "Saint Heaven" features a mix of contemporary gospel, rhythm and blues, and country songs that support the show's themes. Adding to the joyful noise on stage are members of the Tabernacle of Joy Gospel Choir from the Union Baptist Church in Stamford, who perform as part of Pastor Bertram's choir.
My friend who accompanied me to the theater said she enjoyed "Saint Heaven" more than Broadway's "A Light in the Piazza." I'll add my amen to that!
Engaging 'Saint Heaven' touching and provocative
by David A. Rosenberg–The Hour
Blend gospel, R&B and country music with a tale that weaves religion and science and you have "Saint Heaven," the pleasant, engaging, touching tuner having its world premier at Stamford's Rich Forum. Small in scope (better suited to off-Broadway than on), the show is simple and uncomplicated on the surface but has a provocative, even subversive element lurking in the background.
...Some standouts of composer/lyricist Keith Gordon's tuneful songs are "No Turning Back," "Love Isn't Easy," "Breathe In," and "He Don't Mean to Be So Mean." The entire score is just fine and gospel numbers like "Faith With the Faithful" are rousers.
SAINT HEAVEN, with book by Martin Casella and music & lyrics by Keith Dale Gordon, has received the following productions:
- Stamford Center for the Performing Arts Rich Forum: director Matt Lenz, featuring Montego Glover, Darren Ritchie, Chuck Cooper, Cheryl Alexander, Patrick Ryan Sullivan, and Deborah Gibson; producers: Van Hill Entertainment, Barry Goralnick, Jessica Gardner, Sharon Feingold, Bonnie McLaughlin
- The Village Theatre (Regional Theater: Seattle): director Andrea J. Dymond, featuring Tanesha Ross, Allan Snyder, Kingsley Leggs, Cynthia Jones, Mark Carr, Billie Wildrick
- NYMF (winner: Director’s Choice): director Matt Lenz, featuring Montego Glover, Darren Ritchie, Kingsley Leggs, Roz Ryan, Patrick Ryan Sullivan, Nancy Anderson, Franklin John Westbrooks, and Nyjah Moore Westbrooks.
- TRU New Musicals Festival (winner: Best of Festival): director Matt Lenz, featuring Montego Glover, Darren Ritchie, Chuck Cooper, Cheryl Alexander, Patrick Ryan Sullivan, and Rebecca Luker.
- Stages Festival of New Musicals (Chicago): director Andrea J. Dymond