Greek tragedy meets gospel music at Skylight Music Theatre

January 16, 2020

The Gospel at Colonus, an exuberant re-telling of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus with an electrifying gospel and blues score, runs January 17-26, 2020 at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

Featuring soaring voices and thrilling Mississippi Delta blues and gospel music, the musical is a timeless story of compassion and forgiveness set in the context of a black Pentecostal service.

Skylight’s production is directed by 2017 Milwaukee “Artist of the Year” Sheri Williams Pannell.

“I remember the first time I encountered The Gospel at Colonus,” said Williams Pannell, “My ears told me I had just experienced an exhilarating worship service, but this was not a Bible story. It was Sophocles! The musical masterfully finds parallels between the Black church and Greek theatre to create an uplifting story about the power of redemption. I know Milwaukee audiences will be as thrilled as I was when they experience it.”

The Gospel at Colonus features a cast of 14 Milwaukee and Chicago performers including Skylight Music Theatre veterans Byron Jones, Tasha McCoy, Raven Dockery, Shawn Holmes, Kevin James Sievert and Marvin Hannah.

A seven-piece band will perform on stage under the music direction of Chicago’s Christie Chiles Twillie. “Christie is a wonderfully expressive conductor and musician. Audiences will enjoy the special energy that comes with having the band performing live on stage alongside the performers,” said Williams Pannell.

Chris Crain, well known for presenting his annual “A Soulful Christmas” at the Marcus Center and through his work as music director at Calvary Baptist Church, will play the Hammond B3 organ on stage in The Gospel at Colonus.

Gospel premiered on Broadway in 1988 and was revived in 2018, playing to capacity audiences at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The musical was a finalist for the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and won the 1984 Obie Award for Best Musical. Songs include “How Should I See You Through My Tears” and “Lift Me Up Like A Dove.”

Special Offer for Milwaukee Times Readers!

Get tickets for “The Gospel at Colonus” for $35 (plus taxes and fees)! Offer valid on select performances and select seats. Only available by calling the Box Office at (414) 291-7800. Mention code CHOIR. Restrictions apply. Must purchase by Wednesday, January 22 by 6 p.m.

Performances of The Gospel at Colonus are Friday, January 17 through Sunday, January 26, 2020 in the beautiful Skylight Music Theatre, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Tickets are $30 – $75 (plus tax and fees) and can be purchased in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, 158 N. Broadway, by calling (414) 291-7800, or visiting www.skylightmusictheatre.org. Box Office hours are Monday – Saturday, noon – 6 p.m. The Box Office window is open two hours prior to each performance.