Playwright Barry McLeod believes that with a little faith, dreams can come true.
That’s the subject of his two-act gospel-musical comedy, “Blessed by the Favor,” which will be performed at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Ritz Theatre, 1530 Newcastle St., in Brunswick.
“It tells the story of a young woman who has a dream, and is facing adversity that challenges her to lose her focus,” said McLeod. “But she remains steadfast, and stays prayed up. In the end, she’s blessed to have her dream come true. It’s very funny, and very relatable for everyday life.”
McLeod, who has been writing and directing for about 15 years, said the two-act production’s plot is layered and dynamic, but rooted in the common human experience.
“We all have conflict, whether it’s about career choices, or our relationships being strained, but (the main character) is adamant about pursuing her dreams,” he said. “She experiences some betrayal from friends and her boyfriend, but she always stays focused. She’s a woman who trusts the lord.”
The Gainesville, Fla.-based playwright said he started his writing career as a screenwriter, but later turned his attention from the screen to the stage.
“I kind of got tired of waiting for the phone to ring,” McLeod said of his time as a screenwriter. “I decided do something that I could be a little more involved in, even if it was at a smaller scale. I’d rather have some activity instead of playing the waiting game.”
The cast has performed “Blessed by the Favor” nearly a dozen times, including a recent show in Jacksonville, Fla., and for churches around the Southeast. McLeod said the family-friendly musical has been well received by audiences, and he’s excited to bring his original show to Brunswick.
“I have a very close friend who lives in Brunswick, so I visit regularly, and heard about the Ritz (Theatre),” he said. “I had it in my scope to come and perform, and it’s finally getting ready to happen.”
Heather Heath, executive director of Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, which oversees the Ritz Theatre, said she’s happy to host the production.
“I know he’s passionate about what he does,” Heath said of McLeod. “I hope it does well. Part of the mission (of the Ritz Theatre) is to make it available to both nonprofit and for-profit groups. We try to keep our rates as low as possible to make it accessible for everyone.”
McLeod hasn’t just written the show — he’s also a member of the cast.
“The storyline is very layered, and all of the characters have a transformative experience,” he said. “I play the father, and that character has to recognize the kind of father he has been — and not been — to the several children he has with different women. I don’t want to give away too much, but the show has some great music.”
Audiences, McLeod hopes, will come away from the show with a renewed focus on their lives, and how the choices they make impact other people.
“The biggest thing I want people to take away is to have a dream and believe in that,” he said. “Everybody doesn’t believe in God, but if you do, you have to trust God for your dreams to come true. The second thing that I would like is for people to be affected by the way we present ourselves, and what it means to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful thing.”
Themes of resentment, exasperation and even humor permeate the show, McLeod said, and he hopes every audience member will find a way to connect to the story.
“A lot of people harbor and carry anger, disappointment and hurt, so to be able to forgive is a significant thing,” McLeod said.
As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, McLeod said he’s committed to making sure veterans who want to see the show can come free of charge. He is offering 20 free tickets to veterans, which are available in advance by visiting www.barrysmcleod.com. The tickets for veterans are first come, first serve.
The two-and-a-half hour show will have a 10 minute intermission and is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are available at McLeod’s website, listed above. Advance tickets are $15 and $20 at the door.