By Lee Breuer and Bob Telson
Directed by Sandra L. Holloway
Original Direction by Jennifer L. Nelson
Musical Direction by e’Marcus Harper-Short
Starring William T. Newman Jr. as Preacher Oedipus and Kenton Rodgers as Singer Oedipus
Produced in collaboration with Minister Becky Sanders and The Women’s Ecumenical Choir
February 22 to March 25, 2018
Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two
2700 South Lang Street
Arlington, VA 22206
Avant Bard theatre proudly presents the legendary African American musical The Gospel at Colonus, a soaring celebration of transcendence and the fragility of life. The Gospel at Colonus transforms Sophocles’ timeless tale of the last days of Oedipus into a parable for our times. Its message of redemption is sorely needed. 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.
The Washington Post said of last season’s original production: “It genuinely makes you want to rise and clap along!”
And Broadway World called the show “one of the most joyous experiences in live theater you are likely to see!”
Last season The Gospel at Colonus was a sold-out critical and audience hit and Helen Hayes Award recommended. 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 revives The Gospel at Colonus in an up-close, unplugged, and intimate production directed by Sandra L. Holloway (Founder, the holloway arts project) based on original direction 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 evokes a sacred site that draws from and honors the Greek and African roots of the source material. 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.
Preacher Oedipus William T. Newman Jr.*
Singer Oedipus Kenton Rogers
Antigone Ayana Reed
Ismene Jessa Marie Coleman
Theseus A. J. Calbert
Creon e’Marcus Harper-Short
Polyneices Greg Watkins
Choragos Gregory K. Wright
Balladeer Rafealito Ross
*member Actors’ Equity Association
Learn more in our blog:
Afterchats Following Saturday Matinees >>
Inspired by the story in The Gospel at Colonus of an ancient city that welcomed an outcast refugee, our Saturday afternoon Unscripted Afterchats will feature four special guests who, through their work, connect people by lifting them up in affirmation and esteem.
<< Who’s Who in The Gospel at Colonus
Meet the amazing cast, choir, and creative team behind the revival of 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.