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New Play Asks, Can Disco Save Your Soul?

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Mary (Felicia Curry) serenades Chris, also known as Jesus (Vaughn Irving) in Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk.
Doug Wilder
Mary (Felicia Curry) serenades Chris, also known as Jesus (Vaughn Irving) in Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk.

The Capital Fringe Festival is in full swing, bringing a variety of avant-garde performing arts events to D.C. through July 28. Like much of the line-up, Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk is no ordinary show.

Felicia Curry plays Mary. After losing her job, she wanders into a club where she finds Jesus. Except technically his name is "Chris" and he's the lead singer in a funk band with a spiritual shtick.

A fan dressed in a sheep costume advises Mary to ask herself, "WWDJD", or "What would disco Jesus do?"

As it turns out, disco Jesus would get down and funky, which is exactly what Mary does. She joins the band and embarks on a search to find herself, even though she doesn't immediately realize that's what she's doing.

Vaughn Irving penned the script, lyrics and co-wrote the music. He also stars as Chris, the bearded front-man with the boss threads and leather sandals. He says the show is about "finding your voice."

"The story that I wanted to tell was a story about music saving your soul, finding that parallel between music and religion," he says. "We can all sort of sense that music has this power over us a lot of the time, the same sort of power that religion holds."

But Irving says that religion's role in the musical is "loosely metaphorical." For example, Mary's character neither represents Mary Magdalene nor the Mother of God, and the plot doesn't follow any biblical narratives.

You can see the play through July 27 at the Fort Fringe Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar in Northwest.

WAMU 88.5 is an official media sponsor for the Capital Fringe Festival.


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