American Players Theatre: Oedipus

Yes this is the classic Greek play. Yes Sophocles is alive and well. But director David Daniel did an amazing and masterful job in his adaptation of the play to appeal to 21st Century audiences without losing any of the angst and gravitas of the original!

Here the poetry flows more smoothly and recognizable to the modern ear. And Mr. Daniel’s clever insertions of the vernacular and current adages brings out an audience chuckle or two and balances out some of the weight of the story.

I will sit here quietly while you stamp and shout

And Mr. Daniel’s Greek chorus is more limber and interactive and helps guide us along through the story! Thank them for that…and their solo interjections and asides provide a few insights we might not catch without their help!

Gavin Lawrence is a masterful Oedipus and he plays against the image that the chorus provides of their king that we too are as befuddled by his confusion as are they. The fearful man who rants about the stage in a way unbecoming to the king we expected…and Mr. Lawrence makes us totally forget the clear level headed man we thought would take charge!

Creon, Oedipus’ brother in law and uncle, is played by a very regal and earnest Corey Jones…who clearly is undone by the ranting Oedipus. Of course he is working with knowledge of only half the story that the rest of use are privy too. But Mr. Jones holds his character up and plays the loyal, honest, royal personage to the last!

Left: Sun Mee Chomet as Jocasta, center Gavin Lawrence as Oedipus, right Ted Deacy as the Corinthian. Screen capture by Ed Heinzelman

And the most in control on center stage is Creon’s sister and the mother/wife of Oedipus, Jocasta, as played by Sun Mee Chomet . At first regal with a bit of haughty, she puts both Creon and Oedipus in their place for at first. Ms. Chomet makes her character believable and forceful and makes clear attempts to hide her vulnerability until the truth is revealed.

Perhaps the most effective character in this adaptation is La Shawn Banks as the blind prophet, Tiresias. He stays the course in the face of an angrier and angrier Oedipus as he introduces the story line that will eventually unravel the fairy tale that is Thebes and destroy the king but will cure the plague and all other ills that are destroying the city.

And my personal favorite? Ted Deasy as the Corinthian messenger who believes that he is bringing good (but sad) news and is happy to tell his stories since he has no knowledge of the consequences to Oedipus, Jocasta, or Thebes. On one hand the most entertaining and the other the most congenial character in the play.

the Greek Chorus; photo courtesy of the American Players Theatre

I am sorry that this response is so late in the play’s run. I watched this via the At Home streaming option and because of technical difficulties it wasn’t available until this past Monday…and I couldn’t get to it until yesterday. The live version runs at the American Player Theatre’s Hill Theatre through tomorrow October 9, 2021. And because of the technical difficulties with the streaming version, that will now be available through October 24th! Information on the play is here and ticket information is here!

And please leave comments after reading this post. If you are a first time commenter I will have to approve your post before it will appear! But you will be good to go in the future!

So ends what I am calling APT’s 2021 Greek Triad with An Iliad and A Phoenix Too Frequent!

PSA: American Players Theatre Announces The Gift Of The Magi For A New Holiday Presentation!!

Today the American Players Theatre is announcing a new holiday presentation of The Gift Of The Magi written by core company member, Jim DeVita (who gave us that amazing An Improbable Fiction earlier this season). See the details below and use the links provided to find out more!!

The Gift of the Magi

In the Touchstone Theatre

November 26 – December 19, 2021

James DeVita and Josh Schmidt’s original musical based on O. Henry’s classic tale of love and generosity returns to the Touchstone at long last. It’s been hailed as “a Christmas Delight” (The Isthmus). We’ve also been told that “It’s difficult to imagine a more idyllic holiday escape.” (The Shepherd Express). But don’t take our word for it (or even theirs). This is a play that longs to be seen. To be reveled in and shared with friends and family. So help us celebrate the end of this remarkable season along with Jim and Della, who, with full hearts and empty pockets, seek the perfect gift for one another only to find they already have all they need.

Featuring Kelsey Brennan, Brian Mani and Marcus Truschinski.

Book by James DeVita
Lyrics by James DeVita & Josh Schmidt
Music by Josh Schmidt
Directed by Malkia Stampley
This has been an extraordinary season, in part because it was able to take place at all. Now, as we ponder the gifts we’ve been given this year, it feels like the perfect time to bring this holiday favorite back for a visit – a reminder of all the beauty and love and generosity that the world yet holds, and all that is still to come.

Tickets on sale Tuesday, October 26 9:00 am CT online at and 10:00 am by phone at 608-588-2361

We hope you’ll join us one last time in the woods this season as we celebrate the simple things – they are, invariably, the ones we hold dearest. 

PSA: Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s One Day Discount Ticket Sale for A Christmas Carol is Monday October 4!

Of course A Christmas Carol is the family oriented event of the season for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The run starts November 30, 2021 and ends December 24, 2021 and as in years past is at the Pabst Theater next to the Rep’s theater complex.

So on October 4th, you can get tickets at 25% off…but it’s just that ONE day!

Our “A Christmas Carol” One Day Sale is just one week away! Start making your holiday plans now – get up to 25% off tickets for the whole family on Monday, Oct. 4. Experience the magic this holiday season!

Click here next Monday, October 4, 2021 to save 25% on A Christmas Carol!