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Middlesex woman's latest musical inspired by her own story

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Brian Louttit, left, and Sam Bartley, who worked together in 'Esther' previously, are once again sharing the stage in 'The Prodigal Sons.'
Brian Louttit, left, and Sam Bartley, who worked together in 'Esther' previously, are once again sharing the stage in 'The Prodigal Sons.'
Jeannie Allen drew on real-life experiences to write the musical 'The Prodigal Sons.'
Jeannie Allen drew on real-life experiences to write the musical 'The Prodigal Sons.'

The debut of a local woman's musical takes on a personal tone as she was inspired by her own son's tumultuous journey to write the script.

Jeannie Allen spent nearly a year and a half writing “The Prodigal Sons,” which pits one brother against another with their father in the middle. The musical will debut at Glade Run United Presbyterian Church in Valencia from May 16 to 18.

“I think the musical will touch a lot of people and touch their hearts,” Allen said. “It's never too late to turn around to the heavenly father.”

Allen, of Middlesex, was a single mother raising six children 21 years ago when her only son, David, caused a car accident by driving 65 mph over the speed limit. The crash left David, 38, of Hampton in a coma for a week and in a hospital for the next six months.

“During that time he had a turnaround, a conversion,” Jeannie said.

He son became an ordained minister within a year and has since spoken at congregations around the world. Half of the show's proceeds will go to his ministry. He plans to use the money to promote his online ministry at, to potentially produce an album of original Christian gospel songs and to hopefully open a spiritual revival center in the future.

In the musical, Brian Luottit, who plays the lead role of Luke, leaves his family, blows all of his money on the gold-digging Bonnie, played by Davlin Smith, and returns home to ask for forgiveness.

Smith, 47, of Butler has performed for Jeannie in another original musical called “Esther” for several years.

“I think Jeannie kind of had me in mind when she wrote the role and knew I could probably handle it,” Smith said. “In Esther, I kind of play the bad girl, too.”

When Luke's father takes him back in, his older brother, Tom, played by Sam Bartley, becomes angry and jealous.

“I think in a real life form situation, I'm the oldest in my family of five children, so I've always felt I had responsibility and pride in what I do and in my parents,” Bartley said. “I can relate to the role in that way.”

Dave Sloboda, who plays the father, said the musical parallels his own journey.

“I went down a path that I didn't want to go down recently, and in the last 10 months I've turned it around,” said Sloboda, 47, of Butler. “I've learned what it is to have grace and God in my life and allow Him to use me for good. My life has changed.”

Jeannie's daughter, Mary Phillips, helped write the music in “The Prodigal Son” and also choreographed the show.

Phillips, 39, of Economy said she wasn't surprised her mother wrote from personal experience.

“Not at all, because God uses everything in your life for a reason,” Phillips said.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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