Contradictory to the show title, Preacherman, rock songs such as “Highway to Hell” blast through a stereo as we wait for Tommy, “The Rev,” Nugent to take the stage in his one-man show. When he does, he begins by telling us about the love for the Lord he had in his youth. Growing up as a devote Baptist, Nugent yearned to be somewhat of a 20th Century apostle, and chased his dream by creating a “teen evangelism team” (where he would attempt to convert his fellow peers), enrolling in a bible college, and becoming a youth pastor. Articulate and eloquent, Nugent talks so passionately about the Christian faith, that you begin to wonder how he came to be onstage in front of you…in a Fringe show…with “devil” music playing in the background….
“Here comes the melodramatic plot twist,” he exclaims, as he tells you about how he was kicked out of his church when he admitted to having sexual relations with a girl he met and fell for. The send out takes a toll on both his mental and physical health, and he begins to wonder; if he hadn’t been handed his religion, if it hadn’t been instilled in him since childhood, would he believe and commit to it as an adult? In a strangely quick and anticlimactic decision, he realizes that…no, he wouldn’t. His life went “slingshot, from saint to sinner,” and within six months of being a youth pastor, he found himself as a bartender in a Las Vegas strip club.
Many events and circumstances led him to the Fringe stage, from a gambling problem to a near-death experience at the Burning Man festival. Nugent takes you through his life with a warm, inviting smile and an unexplainable aura of ease. You just feel comfortable around him. His newfound views on religion are remarkable. While I’d love to share, I’ll instead encourage you to find him at one of his many speaking engagements and hear them for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
Running time: 60 minutes
Preacherman information and tickets.