UPDATE (6/20): We've been extended! Reviews, word-of-mouth buzz, and ticket sales have been so strong that the Lantern has decided to add an unplanned extension week to our run! We will now play through July 9th! Tickets are expected to go quickly!
We are now right in the middle of our scheduled run of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO... at The Lantern Theater, here Philly. Everything about the process has been a pleasure, and a daunting task melted away in a rehearsal room filled with talented and generous people. We're really having fun with it now.
The play is such a delightful blend of philosophy, religion, and comedic clash of ego. It offers a healthy, historical dose of each topic from Jefferson's, Dickens', and Tolstoy's point of view. You don't have to agree with any of them, but the debate is, nevertheless, a very interesting one, and leaves plenty to think about when the lights go down.
I think it's fair to say that even though we felt like we probably had a pretty good show going during rehearsals, we didn't really expect the audience's reactions to be SO enthusiastic. Our previews were all nearly sold out, the word of mouth has been strong, and the reviews have been equally positive.
I'm not exaggerating. Every performance has been at or near capacity. So, if you're serious about coming to check out the show, please check your calendars and buy in advance. We run - now - through July 9th. I'd love to see you there!
Here's a little of what the press has had to say...
"[Director} James Ijames makes a theology debate - no the usual topic for a comedy - both entertaining and intriguing. You'll laugh and you'll ponder. In swift economical strokes, each actor establishes a personality and a nationality; comic caricature is always based on truth."
--Toby Zinman for the Philadelphia Inquirer
"The often heady debate favorably compares to George Bernard Shaw, who likewise made intellectual discourse sincere and passionate. GOSPEL's fine cast bring these initially stiff figures to life and make them face themselves."
--Mark Cofta for the Broad Street Review
"It would be hard to come up with better casting. They ride with the give and take, each with a distinct and unmistakeable voice. Gregory Isaac, whose work we've amired at Quintessence Theatre, is vital and compelling as a rational, cynical Jefferson."
--Kathryn Osenlund for phindie.com