Jay Huling’s New Comedy Targets Atheism, Evangelists, and Predatory Lending -- Premieres at the Tennessee Stage Company

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New play tells the story of two brothers who start their own radio ministry and collect so many love offerings the IRS threatens to shut them down. Playwright Jay Huling says the show pokes fun at Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Tennessee Stage Company will premiere Jay Huling’s new comedy The Church of Diminishing Marginal Returns at their 14th annual New Play Festival in Knoxville, Tenn. Opening night sold out Friday, March 12. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays until March 28. Sunday shows are at 3:00 p.m. All other performances are at 8:00 p.m.. Tickets are on sale now, $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Theatre Knoxville Downtown is located at 319 N. Gay Street. Call for reservations, (865) 544-1999.

Award-winning playwright Jay Huling will be in attendance for the March 18-21 performances. Huling said he wrote the comedy to be both entertaining and thought-provoking.

“I wanted Christians to question why they believe, and I wanted Atheists to question why they don’t believe,” Huling said from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. “But most importantly I wanted to make them both laugh at themselves.”

According to Huling, the play is about two brothers who start their own church. While one brother is sincere in the endeavor, the other is only interested in collecting tithes and love offerings. Their new venture is so successful that they are able to pay off all of their debts, much to the chagrin of their banker, who was making a tidy sum off of the interest on their outstanding loans.

Director Tom Parkhill said it was the clever mixture of comedy, religion, and music that appealed to him. “The brothers broadcast their church services on their own at-home radio station. In between programs, they showcase an eclectic range of music -- from Elvis to Buck Owens to Davy Jones of the Monkees. Their shenanigans lead from one comic complication to the next. It’s a very funny show. The actors are having a lot of fun with it.”

Another music-inspired creation of Huling’s is his comedy Elvis of Nazareth, which was chosen as one of last year’s best plays and published by Applause Books in their long-running series The Best American Short Plays. He is the author of more than two-dozen plays, and his plays have been performed around the country in nearly every state.

Other Jay Huling plays include Trilogy for Two, Insert Laugh Here, Twelve Bar Blues, The Sing Sing Suite, Hard Luck Sings the Blues, The Wily Ray Riley, Plumber’s Butt, And God Created Laughter, The Flaxen Miss Jackson, and numerous other short plays and comedy sketches.

More information is available about the Tennessee Stage Company’s New Play Festival at http://www.tennesseestage.com. Jay Huling’s website is http://www.jayhuling.com.

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