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By Jennifer Schlueter
For the 30th anniversary of its Los Angeles Premiere, the critically acclaimed Gospel at Colonus is currently showing at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. Presented by the Ebony Repertory Theatre and directed by Andi Chapman, the dramatic musical recounting the last hours of Oedipus was conceived and adapted by Lee Breuer and features music by Bob Telson.
Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, chronologically occurs between Oedipus the King and Antigone, but was written as the last play of the three. Blind and repentant Oedipus reaches Colonus with his daughter Antigone, where they meet his second daughter Ismene. Oedipus prays to the gods and is heard by the King of Athens, Theseus, who welcomes Oedipus to Colonus. Drama unfolds when Creon has Oedipus’ daughters seized and his eldest son appears; however, despite Oedipus’ death, things end on a rather joyful note.
In this adaption of the play, both Oedipus and Ismene’s characters are embodied by an actor as well as a singer. The extremely talented cast consists of Tony-award winner and celebrated Broadway actor Roger Robinson as the actor Oedipus, “The Ambassador of Soul” Ellis Hall as the singer Oedipus and American Idol vocal coach Dorian Holley, who have both performed with icons such as Stevie Wonder, renowned actor William Allen Young as Pastor Theseus, and many more accomplished actors, singers, and musicians.
From start to finish, the musical is an absolute pleasure to watch and listen to. Goosebumps, laughter, teary eyes, joy, and amazement were only some of the reactions experienced and multiple standing ovations in the midst of the play were witnessed. Throughout the whole performance, blind Ellis Hall impresses with his 5 octave vocal range and exceptional performance at the piano. Choragus LaVan Davis, Balladeer Samuel Butler, and the singer for Ismene, Jackie Gouché, also astound the audience with their musical skills, and Nicoe “Nikki” Potts saves the best for last – an incredible solo, which was followed by standing ovations. Thus, the musical is a must-see!
The Gospel at Colonus plays through July 19 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. Performances are scheduled on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. (For the week of June 22, there will be a performance on Thursday, June 25 at 8 p.m., but no performance on Saturday, June 27, at 9 p.m.) Regular price tickets range from $45 – $65. Tickets are available at ewww.ebonyrep.org or by phone at (323) 964-9766. Groups of ten or more should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 964-9766.