The Gospel at Colonus, Bob Telson and Lee Breuer's groundbreaking retelling of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, will be given six free performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, September 4–9, presented by The Public Theater and the Onassis Foundation USA. The musical, for which Nonesuch released the 1985 original cast recording, returns to NYC for the first time since 2004 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the original production. Set in the context of a black Pentecostal service, it celebrates the myth of Oedipus' redemption with a rousing gospel and blues score, featuring more than forty voices including The Blind Boys of Alabama as Oedipus.
The Gospel at Colonus, the groundbreaking retelling of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, will be given six free performances in a limited engagement at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, September 4–9, presented by The Public Theater and the Onassis Foundation USA. With book, original lyrics, and direction by Lee Breuer and original music, adapted lyrics, and music direction by Bob Telson, the musical returns to New York City for the first time since 2004 to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the original production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and to honor director Lee Breuer for his many years of collaboration with The Public Theater. Nonesuch Records released the original cast recording of The Gospel at Colonus, made in a 1985 live performance in Philadelphia. It is available to download in the Nonesuch Store, iTunes, and Amazon, and may be heard below via Spotify and Apple Music.
Set in the context of a black Pentecostal service, with the ground-shaking thunder of a gospel revival meeting, this Obie-winning adaptation celebrates the 2,400-year-old myth of Oedipus' redemption with a rousing gospel and blues score. Conceived, adapted, and directed by Lee Breuer, with music composed, arranged, and directed by Bob Telson, The Gospel at Colonus is a one-of-a-kind show featuring more than forty voices including The Blind Boys of Alabama as Oedipus. The Washington Post called it "dramatically audacious" and praised the Nonesuch recording's "powerhouse performances" and "sheer massed strength of the various gospel choirs." The New York Times calls it "an exhilarating musical celebration."
The Gospel at Colonus premiered in 1983 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival to great acclaim, earning the Obie Award for Outstanding Musical, and was a 1985 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The groundbreaking musical moved to Broadway, opening on March 24, 1988, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, and earning a 1988 Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical and Grammy Award nomination for Best Recorded Theatrical Score. Since its original Broadway run, The Gospel at Colonus has toured with a majority of the original cast, nationally and internationally with engagements in New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Zurich, Spoleto, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Moscow, Vienna, and Athens, among others. The Gospel at Colonus was most recently seen in New York in 2004 at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
Tickets for The Gospel at Colonus will be distributed, two per person, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 12pm on the day of the show. Tickets will be distributed by mobile lottery on the TodayTix app each date that there is a public performance at the Delacorte Theater. On each public performance date, a limited number of vouchers for that night's performance will also be distributed via an in-person lottery at The Public Theater. Details at publictheater.org.
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