This Beautiful City

by Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis
music and lyrics by Michael Friedman
from interviews by Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, Stephen Plunkett, Alison Weller and the authors
directed by Steven Cosson

Mar 5 – 29
in the Pamela Brown Auditorium

in association with
The Studio Theatre, Washington DC and The Civilians

Complete Humana Festival Schedule

This Beautiful City is a play with music, created from interviews with actual persons, that explores the Evangelical movement and its unofficial U.S. capital. Because of the presence of several national Evangelical headquarters, the influential megachurch New Life (formerly led by Ted Haggard), and numerous and diverse churches, questions surrounding religion and civic concerns are brought to the foreground of everyday life in this city. The Civilians’ project looks at Colorado Springs as a microcosm of issues facing the country as a whole—the shifting line between church and state, changing ideas about the nature of Christianity, and how different beliefs can either coexist or conflict within a community.

This Beautiful City on Props Flickr Site


4 Responses

  1. This play is great and the actors did a great job with it.

    The only thing I wondered is there were a few times it felt like the audience was supposed to participate or could have participated (like raising our hands a few times). A few people in the audience did but nobody was sure. Would that have been a detraction to the play?

  2. The great thing about theatre is that it is a collaborative art. So whether the audience directly responds to a performance or not, the actors sense your reactions and feed off of them. It’s a really wonderful symbiotic relationship and it’s why many people get into theatre in the first place. The interaction between the audience and performers is when the magic of theatre happens.

    That said, it would have been totally fine for you or other audience members to have participated by raising your hands or responding, “Amen,” etc. But it’s also totally fine that you didn’t. Theatre is about you the audience member experiencing something totally new and, at the same time, often very familiar. And if that elicits a response, like making you raise your hands as if the sermon or prayer meeting in the play were actually happening in a church, then we’re doing our job right – even if it only made you think about doing it 😉

  3. The balance of religious rights and Christian tendencies toward imperialism is a subject that hits me very hard. It is a very controversial and refreshing topic.

    This production is top notch and one of the best plays I have seen in the past three seasons. The script, music, songs, and acting sucked me in its world and had me addressing issues.

    My only negative criticism is that it ran out of steam before it was over. After Ted’s son’s speech, most of the issues have reached a natural balance. While there are some good points made afterward, I found my mind wandering from boredom. If they could tighten the ending up “My Beautiful City” would be riveting from beginning to end.

  4. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!

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