[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This fall, Getty Villa Museum and Court Theatre, the Tony Award-winning professional theatre of the University of Chicago, present The Gospel at Colonus, the 17th annual Villa Outdoor Classical Theater production.
Soulful and stirring, this one-of-a-kind theatrical event breathes new life into the Oedipus myth with a score of powerful gospel music. The blinded Oedipus arrives at the town of Colonus, near Athens, seeking rest and redemption after a lifetime of tragedy. But he is pursued by enemies, including his own son. Based on Sophocles’s Oedipus at Colonus from the 5th century BCE, this adaptation blends Greek myth with Black spiritual practice for a jubilant, life-affirming, musical journey.
Directed by Mark J.P. Hood and Court Theatre’s Marilyn F. Vitale artistic director Charles Newell, with associate director TaRon Patton and associate music director Mahmoud Khan, this production was conceived and adapted with original lyrics by Lee Breuer and includes music composed by Bob Telson. Before arriving at the Getty Villa this September, The Gospel at Colonus enjoyed a successful run and subsequent extension in Chicago at Court Theatre in spring 2023.
In 2017, Court Theatre premiered Iphigenia in Aulis, Euripides’s ancient tale of power and sacrifice, at the Villa’s outdoor theater, a production that first debuted in Chicago in 2014.
“We are delighted to welcome Court Theatre back to the Getty Villa for this year’s outdoor theater production, The Gospel at Colonus,” says Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the Getty Museum. “Theater was a fundamental component of religious and social life in ancient Greece, and the great success of the Villa productions continue to demonstrate the importance of classical drama in contemporary society.”
“It is an honor to bring The Gospel at Colonus to the Getty Villa,” says director Mark J.P. Hood. “Charlie Newell and I have been developing this production for five years, and that time has been totally worth it. To finally be able to do this production in Chicago and have it be so well-received, and now, to be able to do it at Getty? That’s a dream come true. As a native Chicagoan who now lives in Los Angeles, I can’t wait to take this production from one of my home cities to the other. Let’s go, L.A.!”
The Gospel at Colonus cast includes Kelvin Roston Jr. (Chicago Med, Chicago P.D., and South Side), Jason Huysman, Aeriel Williams (National Tour’s The Color Purple, Off-Broadway’s Trevor: The Musical), Kai A. Ealy (61st Street, The 4400, Ordinary Joe, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Fire), Ariana Burks (Beats, South Side, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, The Jr. Cuisine Cooking Show, and PrankStars), Mark Spates Smith (The 4400, Black Lightning, The Chi, Chicago P.D., Empire, and Shining Girls), Shari Addison (The Gospel at Colonus World Tour), Eric A. Lewis (National Tour’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Off-Broadway’s Spamilton), Juwon Tyrel Perry (North Carolina Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, and Chicago Shakespeare), Jessica Brooke Seals (Black Ensemble Theater’s The Other Cinderella, Paramount Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar, and Mercury Theater’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Women of Soul) and Cherise Thomas (Broadway’s Waitress). The chorus includes Jerica Exum (National Tour’s Waitress), Shantina Lynet’, Isaac Ray (Black Ensemble Theater’s A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti Labelle and Urban Love Story), and Eva Ruwé (Theatre at the Center’s Little Shop of Horrors).
“The Gospel at Colonus has been utterly life-changing, ever since I first saw it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983. The fact that I have been able to direct it, together with Mark J.P. Hood, has been such a gift, and the fact that Court’s staging has touched so many, so deeply is a testament to the incredible cast, band, production team, and creative team,” says Charles Newell. “My deepest thanks to Mark J.P. Hood; Mahmoud Khan; Nick Rudall, Court’s founding artistic director; and our Chicago audiences. We now take the exciting next step and bring The Gospel at Colonus to the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, and we can’t wait to share this production with you.”
The Gospel at Colonus is not recommended for children under the age of 8.
The play will feature set design by John Culbert, costumes by Raquel Adorno, lighting design by Keith Parham, movement design by Cristin Carole, and sound design by Sarah Ramos.
About Court Theatre
Court Theatre is the Tony Award-winning professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and community service. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. The theatre revives lost masterpieces; illuminates familiar texts; explores the African American theatrical canon; and discovers fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences. In all of this work, they are committed to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating racism, as they strive to better serve the South Side community.
Performances of The Gospel at Colonus will be held Thursdays through Saturdays, September 7–30, at 8pm, with previews on August 31–September 2, 2023, at 8pm. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performances will take place on September 14 and 21.
Thursday night performances are $45 ($40 for students and seniors). Friday night performances are $50, and Saturday night performances are $55. Student and senior discounts are available for Thursday night performances only. Ticket prices for the previews are $25.
Tickets will be available online or by calling (310) 440-7300.