Category Archives: The Gospel of the Kingdom

GRAND CONCOURSE: The Trouble with Forgiveness

The great playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare – viewed tragedy as placing a virtue in a situation in which the application of that virtue creates suffering and catastrophe. Heidi Schreck, with her play Grand Concourse, joins the list of playwrights by applying the same formula, but with a hitherto unused virtue – forgiveness. […]

RING OF FIRE: An American Epic on Stage

When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to open his new work, Ring of Fire, in 2005, he sensed he had created something important: “It’s almost a mythic American tale—of growing up in simple, dirt-poor surroundings in the heartland of America, leaving home, traveling on wings of music, finding love, misadventure, success, faith, redemption, and the […]

Shaw’s Major Barbara: The Prodigal Father

G.K.Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw’s friend and jovial debate opponent, called Shaw “a heathen mystic.” I think he was right. How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous public socialists creating the world’s most compelling and flattering portrait of an unrepentant capitalist? How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous […]

ROB ASHFORD’S CAROUSEL: An Historic Reinterpretation

Throughout theater history a director’s re-imaging of a stage classic changes forever how a play is considered. In mid twentieth century Peter Brook’s productions of Shakespeare changed King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rob Ashford’s Lyric Opera production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel will change that post World War Two musical forever as well. […]

DIVIDING THE ESTATE: Wonderful Play, Wonderfully Done

Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate is in the great tradition of inheritance literature. God initiated the genre when He told Abraham of Ur, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” His son Isaac initiated the trope of squabbling over inheritance by […]

AMERICAN SNIPER: The Sheepdog

The great films of Clint Eastwood have a fascination with the nature of male friendship. From Unforgiven through Invictus, Gran Torino, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Mystic River, and even Jersey Boys, the director has explored philia (brotherly love) with a depth and understanding rare in any other director. At times Eastwood’s […]

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS: The Wrong Protagonist

The differences between the Exodus story according to film director Ridley Scott and the Biblical account of the Exodus is in the chosen protagonist (chief actor; hero). Ridley Scott casts Moses as the protagonist; the story is about him. The Bible recounts the heroic actions of God; the story is about Him. Scott’s Moses is […]

THE HUMANS: From America’s Chekhov

The Humans is the latest play by Stephen Karam, author of Sons of the Prophet, a play with which The Humans shares many similarities. Both plays feature multiple generations of immigrant families: the Lebanese Christian Douaihy family in Sons of the Prophet, and the Irish American Blake family in The Humans. Both families reside in […]

PERICLES: “What pageantry, what feats, what shows!”

To paraphrase Emerson, a great work of theatre is the lengthened shadow of one man’s great imagination. His character determines the character of the production.The great work of theater I have in mind is the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s current production of William Shakespeare’s Pericles Prince of Tyre. The great imagination I have in mind belongs […]

PORGY AND BESS: Gal, Lawd, and Song

The Lyric Opera’s production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess was a revelation. I knew, according to music critic Joseph Horowitz 1, that George Gershwin, along with Charles Ives, was the genius composer who, with Porgy and Bess, mediated between high culture and popular music. I knew, according to the Lyric opera’s dynamic general manager […]