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Louisville playwright Tyrone Goodman will bring a story of a family rebuilding when “What Shall I Do?” is performed at the Historic State Theater in Elizabethtown on Saturday.
The play, Goodman’s third, concerns a family dealing with divorce and the teenage girl devastated by her parents’ break-up, he said.
A gospel song by the same name will open the show. Radcliff singer Makeisha Saunders, known on stage as Khamé thaSouhlgroove, will perform “What Shall I Do?” a song from celebrated gospel artist Tremaine Hawkins, she said.
The play examines the strength of family ties, Goodman said.
The mother and daughter in the story do not cope well with the divorce, and the girl runs away from home. That’s when the power of the extended family is illustrated.
“The family has to come in and put it back together,” he said.
Goodman said he’s “in the mending business,” and referenced his two earlier plays, which also depict reconciled families.
His first project was inspired by his son. Desperate to convince his son not to deal illegal drugs, he wrote a play about it. The play was performed at his church, and it helped steer his son to a better path, he said.
He didn’t realize the rest of the audience would want more and encourage him to keep writing.
“I didn’t even know this was a gift I had,” he said. “That was for my son.”
The show is delivered by an all black cast, lured to “What Shall I Do?” from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Florida and other places by a casting call. While it was not written with the intent to observe Black History Month, Goodman said, the performance date is appropriate. After all, one can’t help but make a cultural statement when talking about extended families, he said.
“What Shall I Do?” attracted three sell-out crowds in a 500-seat theater at Louisville’s Clifton Center, said Goodman, who also is producer and director of the play.
The musical performance is unique to the Elizabethtown showing.
Saunders, a singer since preschool, said singing a song and being associated with a play as meaningful as these is a blessing and an honor.
“They couldn’t have picked a better song or a better person to deliver it,” she said, referencing her Christian faith. “You have to have thankful people to deliver this message.”
Sarah Berkshire can be reached at (270) 505-1745 or email@example.com.