Lee Breuer and Bob Telsons
The Gospel at Colonus
Returns to NY For 20th Anniversary
Famed Broadway Hit To Grace Stage Of Legendary Apollo Theater Featuring Charles S. Dutton & the Blind Boys Of Alabama
New York, New York -- It is said the second time around is always better but when it comes to the 20th timelike the 20th anniversary of the internationally award-winning musical, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUSthe exhilarating magic and excitement of this productions reprise after two decades of touring is sure to surpass its own extraordinary theatrical acclaim. New Yorks legendary Apollo Theater will serve as the celebratory backdrop this fall for the return of this timeless ancient Greek drama transposed into a contemporary, foot-stomping gospel masterpiece starring noted theater, film and television actor CHARLES S. DUTTON, the Grammy-famed BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA featuring Clarence Fountain, THE LEGENDARY SOUL STIRRERS and several New York choirs. The production is slated to run at the Apollo Theater October 25th to November 7th, 2004.
Acclaimed as a landmark work of the American Musical theater and backed with years of critical praise including OBIE Awards for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Performance (Morgan Freeman in 1983-84 season), a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nominations, an LA Drama Critics Circle, and other awards, THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS is an exuberant retelling of Sophocles classic Greek tragedy (Oedipus at Colonus) set in the context of a Pentecostal gospel service. Its theme of suffering and redemption stays true to the original drama but is modernized with the driving passion of ground-shaking gospel music, notable performers, and church choirs celebrating the 2400-year-old myth of Oedipus with a rousing gospel and blues score.
The musical focuses on the story of the blind king Oedipus, banished from Thebes and searching for salvation until he arrives at the city of Colonus to make peace with his past and his children before he transitions to his final resting place.
THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, which has been broadcast on public television as a part of Great Performances, is the brainchild of playwright and director Lee Breuer and composer Bob Telson. They will be actively involved in the reprise production at the Apollo Theater this fall.
Breuer, touting over 25 years in theater, is described as a renegade in the industry with an impressive background as a playwright and a director. A multi-OBIE award winner, Breuer has received much acclaim for his avant-garde ventures including last winters "Mabou Mines Dollhouse", a musical puppet version of "Peter Pan" called "Peter and Wendy", his feminized American version of "King Lear", and the Dadaesque "Shaggy Dog Animation".
Composer Bob Telson is an Academy Award nominee for the song "Calling You" from the movie score of "Bagdad Café". He has written songs for Celine Dion, k.d.lang, George Benson, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Barbara Streisand and others. He has a solid history composing, writing and performing with numerous gospel groups including Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama. "Decades ago I knew there could be a successful blending of classical text with gospel music which would move modern audiences. Working with Breuer, weve been capturing this same excitement for 20 years," says Telson.
THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS premiered in New York in 1983 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Over the years, this dazzling production has appeared nationwide, in Europe and South America.
The 20th anniversary celebration of COLONUS at the Apollo Theater is sure to attract original audience members of decades ago who want to re-capture the plays incredible experience. While its audiences have been large and diverse, the fall production is sure to attract Harlems increasingly diverse community, mainstream theater lovers, students of literature, Greek mythology, and religion; church members and, of course, New Yorks Black community where many will be able to personally relate to the expressions of joy and faith framed upon the historic Apollo stage.
While Broadway works through ways to further embrace diverse audiences, the Apollo Theater continues to cultivate an audience of its own where traditional audiences of color now share the venue with uptowns growing mainstream community eager to experience authentic black culture.