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.
— Hilton Als, staff writer at The New Yorker
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