Terrence McNally's controversial Corpus Christi opens San Francisco's New Conservatory Theater Center's Sixth Pride Season, titled "Body and Soul," Oct. 21. Performances of the play began Oct. 11 for a run through Dec. 3. Ed Decker directs.
Set in modern southern Texas, Corpus Christi depicts the life of gay Christ-like figure named Joshua and the relationships he forms with his twelve disciples, including a Judas-like lover, a lawyer and a prostitute.
When Corpus Christi made its world premiere in October 1998 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, protests from the Catholic League of Religious and Civil Rights and fringe extremist groups almost led to the play's cancellation. Only counter-protests from the arts community, including a petition signed by playwrights Tony Kushner, Craig Lucas, Marsha Norman, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and Larry Kramer and the threatened loss of Athol Fugard's The Captain's Tiger, brought reinstatement of the play into the MTC season. Throughout the run, protests continued.
Other plays by McNally include Love! Valor! Compassion!, The Lisbon Traviata and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune. He won Tony Awards for best book of a musical for both Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Teli Cardaci is Joshua with James Mark as Judas. Also in the cast are Tarek Khan (Phillip), Michael Barr (Andrew), Michael Beck (Peter), Michael Billingsley (Thomas), Ryan Canfield (John), Scott Cox (Matthew), Gary Wayne Farris (Bartholomew), Richard Gallagher (James), James Godwin (Thadeus) and Keven McMahon (James the Less). Tickets are $25-$15. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is located at 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. For tickets, call (415) 861-8972. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is on the web at http://www.nctcsf.org.
-- By Christine Ehren