The Glory Bugles Bring ‘800 Miles Off Broadway’ to TPAC

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“Just imagine a gospel show mixed with A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, GREATER TUNA and WAITING FOR GUFFMAN and you’ll be on the right track. It should be made clear, though, that the target of this show’s humor is bad theology, not the Almighty. There’s also a genuine warmth to THE GLORY BUGLES that leaves you smiling as well as laughing. In this often cold and brutal world, that combination is truly Heaven sent.” – StageCritic

In a return engagement to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, four accomplished, award-winning local performers magically transform themselves into a musically-challenged foursome known as The Glory Bugles. In their new show entitled “800 Miles Off Broadway,” the comedy troupe continues their spoof of a fictional Gospel quartet from the “town” of Box Springs, Tennessee, offering more holiness-gone-haywire music and skits, complete with outdated hairdos and a painfully-unfashionable wardrobe.
The Glory Bugles take a good-hearted poke at legalism and ‘holier than thou-ism’ of every stripe. “There’s a very fine line between ‘laughing at’ and ‘laughing with,'” admits Grammy Award winning songwriter/producer/actor and former Screen Actors Guild (TN) Nashville President Stevan Pippin, who plays Bugles character Harley Never, “but the characters are so misguided and downright goofy, the jokes are always at their expense, not at the expense of the truth. Still, we know sometimes our toes are right on the line.”
Pippin makes clear that this show pokes fun at bad theology and the foibles of believers, but never God Himself. Each of the actors are committed Christians and have no desire to trash the Creator of the Universe. In addition to Pippin, the Bugles are played by award-winning actress, producer and songwriter Nan Gurley; best-selling author, speaker and national recording artist Bonnie Keen; and accomplished actor, singer and producer Wayne Gurley.
“800 Miles Off Broadway” will feature new songs along with some of their classic “hits” such as “If Your Hair’s Too Long There’s Sin in Your Heart” and “Heaven Yes, Hell No.” They have added three new songs, one about the infallibility of their preacher, one song about a famous dead celebrity sighting, and one song all about the show title. There are new sketches, including an audience participation meeting of “Casseroles Anonymous” for those in the crowd that may need “help” in that area.
The Glory Bugles also have new “sponsors” from Box Springs including Happy Pastures Assisted Living and Box Springs Apocalypse Fun Park, where they exclaim, “…even if you win, it’s still the end of the world.”
So if you enjoy leisure suits, beehive hairdos, trailer parks and cowboy hats, or if you’ve ever chuckled at the wisdom of a church marquee, you’ll feel right at home with the Glory Bugles.
The show is sponsored by the Puffy Muffin and runs September 8-11. For further information, visit www.GloryBugles.com or call TPAC at 615-782-4040.
Editor’s Note: I have seen the Glory Bugles more than once back in the day when Brother Willard Moon was part of the ensemble, laughing myself silly over their antics and often painfully sharp parody of bad theology. With three of the original Bugles still part of the cast, this promises to be a show worth catching. And I am not at all influenced by the fact I have shared the stage with Nan Gurley more than once…in high school chorus!
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