Strip performers stage a reading of musical that examines how children see God

More than 50 Strip performers will stage a musical reading of "God Lives in Glass" this weekend to raise money for a local charity that houses homeless families while they get back on their feet.

The musical, composed by Keith Thompson, conductor and musical director for "Jersey Boys," depicts how children from a variety of cultures view God. According to Thompson, it is based on a book by Robert Landy, a professor at New York University, who interviewed children from around the world in 2001 and asked them to draw a picture of God and explain it.

Landy and Thompson used the research and findings to put it to music and develop a stage version.

"The book celebrates the diversity and sameness we all have," Thompson says. "It has a global unity theme to it merely by looking at the religions, cultures and nationalities through the eyes of the children."

There is no proselytizing or commenting on the various interpretations; they are careful not to give a message, Thompson says.

Instead, they present the children's answers and leave it to the audience to make interpretations.

And the kids said some interesting things, Thompson notes. A 7 year old from South Africa contributed the musical's title when she said, "God lives in glass and is shaped by wind." Other things children said include God looks like a girl, he lives in a house with (a woman named) Maria and lives in people's hearts.

Because it represents all faiths, "God Lives in Glass" is an appropriate fundraising vehicle for Family Promise, says Bruce Ewing, the actor who portrays Monsieur Reyer in "Phantom -- A Las Vegas Spectacular." A longtime volunteer with the nonprofit, Ewing asked Thompson to stage the musical to help raise funds for them.

Family Promise consists of more than 20 churches, synagogues and mosques working together to provide homeless families with shelter, Ewing says.

Families stay for a week in each, until they are placed in housing. The average length of stay is about two months and they have about an 85 percent success rate, Ewing notes.

Currently, the organization is able to assist eight families at a time; in all, they help more than 50 families a year. The money raised from the musical readings will help fund a ninth family in the program.

The musical will be staged at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the College of Southern Nevada, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas. A post-show reception with the performers is scheduled.

Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at or 702-380-4564.