Local playwright's musical traces music through the 'Generations'


Crestview playwright and producer Mike Smith's musical, "Generations: A Collection of Black American Music," hits the Mattie Kelly Performing Arts Center's Mainstage Feb. 28.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 05:43 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A chance meeting at a coffee shop was the final impetus playwright and Crestview resident Mike Smith needed to make the dream of producing his musical come true.

Initially, Smith envisioned a show that pays homage to the 20th century's influential black music. He produced a forerunner of "Generations: A Collection of Black American Music" while he was a Texas student performing with a group called The Legacy Singers.

"We were invited to do a show for Black History Month in college and it was 'Generations,'" he said. "The campus and community took ... to the show and it was so well received that I thought, 'We may have something here.'"

Back home in Crestview, at his favorite Starbucks table, Smith mulled ways to polish, improve and tighten the show.

At a nearby table, Paul Hinton, First United Methodist Church's contemporary worship music minister, was wrestling with creative challenges as he polished his historical novel.

Mutual encouragement

Hinton and Smith got to chatting and, with each other's encouragement, the book and musical progressed.

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