Illustration by Jun Cen

published 8.28.2018

The Gospel at Colonus in "The New Yorker"

Superlatives are increasingly difficult to back up, since most of the world speaks and tweets in exclamation points by now, but I think it’s safe to say that the director Lee Breuer’s “The Gospel at Colonus” is a masterpiece. I first saw it at BAM in 1983, when it premièred, and I left the theatre with my shirtfront drenched with tears and the perspiration of relief: here was a portrait of black life—of black music, joy, and pain—that I could understand. Brilliantly recasting Sophocles’ tragedy “Oedipus at Colonus” as a Pentecostal sermon, Breuer and his incredible composer, Bob Telson, got at the heart of difference and history and how the two helped create America. A limited run of free shows at the Public’s Delacorte Theatre, Sept. 4-9, features the legendary groups the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Original Soul Stirrers.

— , staff writer at The New Yorker

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