The Gospel at Colonus
By Lee Breuer, with music by Bob Telson
Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson
Musical Direction by e’Marcus Harper-Short
Starring William T. Newman Jr. as Oedipus
Produced in Collaboration with Minister Becky Mays Jenkins and The Women’s Ecumenical Choir
Avant Bard presents The Gospel at Colonus, the legendary gospel musical that transforms Sophocles’ timeless tale of the last days of Oedipus into a parable for our times. Its message of redemption is sorely needed right now. With its epic poetry and magnificent score, The Gospel at Colonus reminds us that out of the deepest sorrows, the highest and most uplifting hope can emerge.
A soaring celebration of transcendence and the fragility of life, The Gospel at Colonus was a global sensation when it premiered in 1983. The story combines Greek tragedy and African American heritage. The score is an inspiring fusion of Black church gospel with elements of blues and Motown. Written by Lee Breuer and composer Bob Telson, The Gospel at Colonus was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Best Drama in 1985 and won the Obie for Best Musical in 1984.
Avant Bard now gives The Gospel at Colonus new life in an up-close and intimate production directed by Jennifer L. Nelson (Resident Director, Mosaic Theater Company of DC; Founding Artistic Director, African Continuum Theatre Company) with musical direction by e’Marcus Harper-Short (Musical Director of Theater Alliance’s acclaimed Black Nativity). Unlike previous productions of The Gospel at Colonus, which had a megachurch setting, the Avant Bard production will evoke a sacred site that draws from and honors the Greek and African roots of the source material.
“This is The Gospel at Colonus as you have never seen it before,” says Avant Bard Artistic Director Tom Prewitt. “So many lines and songs have taken on fresh relevance—
How can I see you though my tears?
Where shall I find sanctuary?
Now let the weeping cease/Let no one mourn again
—and at this moment in our nation’s history it could not be more timely or more welcome.”
Learn more in our blog:
<< Who’s Who in The Gospel at Colonus
Meet the amazing cast, choir, and creative team behind this powerful and uplifting gospel musical.
Seeking Sanctuary in Ancient Colonus and in America Now >>
The shocking relevance to today of a legend about a noble city that welcomed an accursed stranger.
AVANT BARD SHOWS ARE EASY TO GET TO.
Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA 22206. (Ample free parking. For driving directions and easy public-transportation info, click here.)
AVANT BARD SHOWS ARE ALWAYS AFFORDABLE.
Performances are Pay What You Will on Thursday evenings and Saturday matinees. General admission is just $30 on Friday, $35 Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees.
ALERT: Due to the popularity of The Gospel at Colonus, advance online PWYW reservations are recommended to guarantee a seat. $10 minimum.