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Father, son sharing stage in Milligan’s ‘The Odyssey’

By Nathan Baker
Elizabethton Star

Photo Credit: Brandon Hicks

An upcoming performance at Milligan College proves that even the most stalwart of heroes sometimes needs the guidance of his father.

Colin Blowers said the chance to star in Milligan’s production of “The Odyssey” alongside his father, Paul, was “a blessing,” and promised special experience for attendees.

“It’s pretty special to me,” Colin said of the shared family stage time. “I have a great relationship with my dad. He’s played a huge role in my life, so it’s special for that reason.”

Colin plays the hero Odysseus in Homer’s classic epic tale adapted for the 70-minute stage performance. Paul slips into the role of narrator/beggar, and admits that he may be the oldest cast member in the production.

Paul, a Milligan alumnus himself, is no stranger to theater at the small college.

Both as a student and decades later, after he began teaching at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Paul graced Milligan’s stage, and said it’s not the first time he and his son have shared the spotlight.

“The only other time we were on stage together was when he was a kid, in a production of ‘Hamlet,’” Paul said. “Colin was just a little guy — I think he was 11 — and he was kind of standing on stage as an extra. Later, when he became a student, he really got involved in theater at Milligan.”

For Colin the play is an especially momentous occasion. As a graduating senior, it will be his eighth and last performance as a Milligan student.

“My theater experience here has been central to my college career, to say the least,” the political science and humanities major said. “To be able to be in this performance with my dad is something that I’ll never forget.” Some of Colin’s previous performances at Milligan include acting in “Alice in Wonderland” and the role of Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

Paul said he’s enjoyed watching his son perform throughout his college years as he grew into his acting skills.

“He fits this role well, it’s a good role to show what he’s capable of doing,” Paul said. “He’s graduating in a few weeks, he’s getting married in September, so this is kind of the last hoorah of his college years before he moves on to other things. It’s a neat way to finish off his college career.”

In this production, Paul was also able to reunite with an old friend, Richard Major, the play’s director and another former Milligan actor.

“He’s an astoundingly good teacher and director,” Paul said of Major, who both acted together in the ’70s as students. “He’s just an extraordinary figure; I know all the students appreciate him and the work he does.”

“The Odyssey” opens tonight at 7:30 in Milligan’s McGlothlin-Street Theatre of the Gregory Center for the Liberal Arts.

It runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., then starts at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. A free matinee performance will show at 10 a.m. on Friday for area school children.

To purchase $5 tickets, visit the school’s bookstore, open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call 461-8733. Tickets will also be available at the box office 30 minutes prior to each performance until sold out.

Costume, lighting and scenic designs are by Milligan’s Pamela Adolphi, and Brad Eastridge and Miriam Perkins, both school alumni, wrote the musical score and choreographed the show.

“It’s visually stunning, with original music and choreography,” Colin said. “It’s a real treat for the eye and everyone in the cast fits their roles very well.”

Colin said the play, at 70 minutes, progresses quickly and has a lot of action from scene to scene to keep even younger children interested.

“It’s got some really intense moments, it’s touching at times and has lots of heroics,” Paul agreed. “It’s a great show.”


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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