The Public Theater celebrates the 35th anniversary of the original production of The Gospel at Colonus with a free, week-long revival of the musical September 4–9 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Set in the context of a black Pentecostal service, Lee Breuer's adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus celebrates the 2,400-year-old myth of Oedipus’ redemption with a gospel and blues score.
The Gospel at Colonus debuted at the BAM Harvey Theater as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's inaugural Next Wave Festival in 1983. The musical features a book, original lyrics, and direction by Breuer, and original music, adapted lyrics, and music direction by Bob Telson.
The limited engagement from the The Public, which wraps up the theatre's free, summer programming in Central Park, marks the first time the piece has played New York City since a 2004 Apollo Theatre production that starred Charles S. Dutton and the Blind Boys of Alabama (who are returning to the show in Central Park in the role of Oedipus).
Completing the casting are Rev. Dr. Earl F. Miller (The Messenger); The Legendary Soul Stirrers: Willie Rogers, Ben Odom, Gene Stewart (Choragos); Wren T. Brown (Theseus); Greta Oglesby (Antigone); Shari Addison (Ismene); J.D. Steele (Choir Director); Tina Fabrique (Soloist); Jeff Young (Soloist); Sam Butler Jr. (Balladeer); Jay Caldwell (Creon); Kevin Davis (Polyneices); Carolyn Johnson-White (Choir Soloist); and Josie Johnson (Chorus).
“The Gospel at Colonus is the masterpiece of the populist side of Lee’s work, a brilliant merging of Greek tragedy and biblical traditions and an astonishing meditation on death and life,” says Oskar Eustis, The Public's artistic director. “I first walked into The Public Theater as a student (and groupie!) of Lee Breuer’s. Joe Papp had given his theatre company, Mabou Mines, a home here and over the next few years Lee and his colleague JoAnne Akalaitis became central figures in The Public Theater family. I am so proud to be honoring Lee and honoring us with a week of Colonus in the Park.”
The Gospel at Colonus is presented for free by The Public and Onassis Foundation USA.
Tickets (two per person) will be distributed at the Delacorte Theater beginning at noon on the day of the show. Tickets are also available via a mobile lottery through the TodayTix app and an in-person lottery at the Public Theater's main campus at 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets will also be distributed on September 5 at Brooklyn Central Library and September 7 at Harlem School of the Arts. Reserved seating is available with a $75 or $150 tax-deductible donation, which can be made by calling (212) 967-7555.