The Gospel at Colonus at Dillard University

Friday, 15 April, 2016


April 8-10, 15-17

*$1 Nite on April 7 

The Gospel at Colonus is an African-American version of Sophocles's tragedy, Oedipus at Colonus. The show was created in New York City in 1983 by the experimental-theatre director Lee Breuer, one of the founders of the seminal American avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines, and composer Bob Telson. The original script was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show had a brief run on Broadway from March to May in 1988. Breuer was Tony-nominated for his book.

Breuer and Telson handed the storytelling duties to a black Pentecostal preacher and the choir of his church, who in turn enacted the story of Oedipus's torment and redemption as a modern parable. They employed the unusual device of casting The Blind Boys of Alabama to collectively portray Oedipus as well as the Institutional Radio Choir in Brooklyn and Chancel Choir of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Other casting innovations in the performance include multiple actors in single roles, such as when The Messenger is called upon to assume the role of Oedipus in tandem with the singer cast when the role calls for stage motion that would be difficult for the blind singer to negotiate alone, the multiplicity of Oedipus's daughters and one son when the children of Oedipus appear collectively (with Jevetta Steele as Ismene, her sister Jearlyn Steele doubling for actress Isabell O'Connor as Antigone, and brothers J.D. and Fred Steele standing in as Polynices and Eteocles, with actor Kevin Davis doubling as Polynices), and, indeed, with different portions of the cast, singly and in groups, assuming the duties of the traditional Greek chorus.


Dillard University
2016 Gentilly Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70122

Event Contact

Corthel Clark

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Dillard University

2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122