Out of the Mouths of Babes – Talking to Keith Thompson about God Lives in Glass

For conductor and award-winning composer Keith Thompson, once again bringing God Lives in Glass to the Las Vegas community and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is not only thrilling, it’s an opportunity “to be helpful to the (center’s) education and outreach programs.” Humorous, thought-provoking and enlightening family entertainment, the hit musical theatre concert performs at The Smith Center on Nov. 15 at 3 p.m., with proceeds benefitting these programs.

God Lives in Glass, which was inspired by Dr. Robert Landry’s book God Lives in Glass: Reflections of God Through the Eyes of a Child, reveals how kids of different cultures, races, religions and nationalities around the world view the notion of God through their drawings and stories.

Featuring a powerful, original score written by Thompson in just three months, the inspirational and uplifting theatrical concert comprises various musical genres, including pop, Gospel, classical, blues, reggae and R&B.

“The music just flowed through me with great ease and purpose,” said Thompson about composing the music for the production. “It was the easiest writing experience I have ever had.”

God Lives in Glass debuted in New York in 2003. It first appeared in Las Vegas in 2006, after Thompson moved here and partnered with Candlelighters, a local charity for childhood cancer, to perform the show. He invited 11 of his musician friends to join him in the performance, which was held at a local church, to raise money and awareness.

“That’s how the concert version was born,” Thompson explained. “Subsequently, other nonprofits approached me and the concert began to grow, attracting more and more volunteer singers, dancers, actors and musicians.”

And grown it has. Performing 12 times in the past decade, the upcoming concert at The Smith Center promises to be the biggest and best yet.

“Because The Smith Center is such a large and beautiful venue, everything will be bigger—the cast, the orchestra, the audience and, of course, the expectations,” he said about the upcoming event. “… we are working to update and improve the technical aspects of the show for a truly remarkable production experience, without losing the intimacy and the heart that is intrinsic in the piece.

“This concert will feature a 72-voice choir, a 20-piece orchestra—the largest number of musicians yet; I actually cut it off at 20, because I ran out of room on the set!—and a large group of approximately 20 local dancers. They all volunteered,” he continued.

One of those musicians, pianist virtuoso Philip Fortenberry will lend his hands to the performance, as well as a host of current and former cast members from some of Las Vegas’ highly popular Broadway and production shows.

“Many of the adults are from production shows—Jersey Boys, Million Dollar Quartet, Rock of Ages, Nunsense, (and Cirque du Soleil’s) LOVE and “O.” Some are from shows that closed—Phantom, Mamma Mia!, Peepshow—but the performers are either still here or are returning, because they want to be a part of this concert,” Thompson said.

While, by its very title, God Lives in Glass sounds like it’s a religious musical, Thompson assures the show is “a whimsical look at religion” and “never attempts to instruct or promote any ideology or doctrine.”

“I hope the audience will be able to lose themselves in the experience and enjoy the ride. … by looking at the ways we are different and the ways we are all the same, we will allow for more understanding of each other across cultural barriers and boundaries as we share this planet together.”

Tickets start at just $19 and are on sale now. They can be purchased in person at the box office, by phone at 702-749-2000, and online here.

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