Category Archives: The Gospel of the Kingdom

TOI’s HANSEL AND GRETEL: BEAUTIFUL AND FUN AND UNIVERSALLY TRUE

Why a fairy tale? A fairy tale explains the world to both youngsters and to adults, who may have forgotten important truths. As the fairy tale master Bruno Bettelheim explains, the fairy tale expresses in words and actions the things which go on in the child’s, or childlike adult, mind. Or as G.K. Chesterton rightly […]

LA SCALA’S GIOVANNA D’ARCO: When an Opera is a Lie

As of 2009, ten percent of Americans thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.[i] Since then most people probably won’t even guess as to her identity. And where could they learn of Joan of Arc? Schools, where any hint of Christianity is outlawed? In mainline churches, where scientific rationalism filters the majesty and mystery of […]

THE MET’S MADAMA BUTTERFLY: THE POWER OF UNIVERSALS

The most recent study names Puccini’s Madama Butterfly as the sixth most popular opera in the world. In fact, seeing the opera at the age of sixteen prompted Yoko Watanabe (1953-2004) to a singing career, eventually to the position of the most famous of Japanese opera singers, certainly to be one of the most acclaimed […]

Virginia Stage Company’s CROWNS: A Majestic Theater Event

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul asked, For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Saint John Chrysostom explained that, ”he who will not seek in the well being of his neighbor his own benefit will not attain […]

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE’S MACBETH: Imagination’s Descent into Hell

 Viewed in the context of his other work, Macbeth is Shakespeare’s Descent into Hell. And since it is his Inferno, it is appropriate that the terrestrial and celestial parts of his universe should figure slightly.[i] Those words by University of Chicago Shakespearean scholar Harold Goddard summarize the production Aaron Posner and Teller have created at […]

STUDIO THEATRE’S TRANSLATIONS: ANOTHER KIND OF PRODIGAL SON

Set in rural Ireland in 1833, Brian Friel’s’ Translations explores the troubles brought to a handful of characters following the return of a prodigal son.  Whereas the prodigal in Christ’s parable returned ashamed and broken, Friel’s prodigal returns home proud and puffed up. Maire, a local maiden, has long been betrothed to Manus, the oldest […]

THE MET’S LUISA MILLER: A TALE OF THREE FATHERS

Tragedy has been defined as a family destroyed and comedy as a family being created. Due to his own tragic experiences, Giuseppe Verdi was always interested in putting families on stage. The deaths of his children and his first wife had a profound and permanent effect on Verdi. In addition, he was a dutiful son […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S DREAM: THE MYSTICISM OF HAPPINESS

The great British essayist G. K. Chesterton considered Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be a masterful presentation of “the mysticism of happiness.” He went on to explain: “That is to say, it is the conception that when a man lives upon a borderland he may find himself in the spiritual or supernatural atmosphere, not […]

LES MIS: THE ENERGIZER MUSICAL

The musical Les Misérables premiered on  September 24,1980; Duracell’s Energizer Bunny debuted nine years later, but unlike the pink bunny, Schonberg’ and Boubil’s musical keeps getting stronger and stronger. Over 70 million people in 44 countries never grow tired of this magical stage work. (Aside from Hamlet, Kathleen and I have seen Les Mis more […]

DYLAN IN RICHMOND

Bob Dylan’s concert in Richmond took place at the Richmond Coliseum, an edifice best described by the famous line, “What. A. Dump!” Nevertheless, the ageless Mavis Staples opened the three hour show with a feisty backup band as she reviewed some of her greatest hits and introduced a few of her new songs from her […]