Ten years ago in NYC, Corpus Christi, Terrence McNally’s play re-imagining the story of Jesus and the Apostles as gay men living in modern day Texas, stirred controversy, weaving into the tale an examination of gay themes in Christianity. (In McNally’s version, Judas betrays Christ because of sexual jealousy.)
Church leaders and right wing-nuts united in cries of blasphemy condemning it, thus ensuring a mother lode of free publicity and a long life for productions around the globe.
108 Productions, a theater company based in Los Angeles, has been performing Corpus Christi for the past three years, here as well as in San Francisco, and at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and in Dublin, Ireland over the past two summers.
Next month brings the ultimate achievement for any theater company– a run at a theater in New York, with the wholehearted support of McNally himself. 108 will perform Corpus Christi at the Rattlestick Theater in NYC October 14-26. It will be the first time the play has been performed in New York since its original production ten years ago.
Steve Hasley, a company member whose acting credits also include Boston Legal and How I Met Your Mother, sums it up, “When we started performing it, we had no idea what kind of life it would take on. I mean, we’ve been around the world with it and now we’re going to do it in New York. It’s been an amazing journey.”
Funding has come from many sources for the venture, a large portion of it raised by 108 themselves.
This Wednesday at Fubar, they will hold a Project Runway-style fundraiser, complete with celebrity judges, including Ann Walker (Sordid Lives,) Rodney Chester (Noah’s Arc,) Juliet Mills (Passions,) and Maxwell Caulfield (Grease II.)
Contestants will pull together outfits from a giant bag of clothes, strut on the runway and surrender all dignity as they are harshly, cruelly judged for their efforts– just like a Saturday afternoon stroll down Robertson.
The theater company has also partnered with the Matthew Shepard Foundation in their efforts to “Erase Hate” aimed at the GLBT community. Proceeds from each show go to the foundation, with a special benefit performance planned in NYC.
Wednesday, Sept. 24th, contest begins at 8:45PM, judging at 10 PM; Fubar, 7994 Santa Monica Blvd. WeHo 90046. Make it work, bitches.