THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY /
Photos by Tom Kimmell and Craig Schwartz
An engaging, inquisitive and moving work of theater.
— The New York Times
TimeOut New York — This Beautiful City
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.
The company completed its investigative phase in 2006, compiling hundreds of hours of interviews over the course of 10 weeks in Colorado Springs. Every leading church in the area participated in the project, as did numerous civic organizations, progressive activists, and individuals from all walks of life. An initial presentation took place at Colorado College in February, 2007 with the title "Save This City." The company premiered the play in 2008 at the Humana Festival for New American Plays and This Beautiful City has since been seen in Washington DC, Los Angeles and off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in New York.
CREATIVE TEAM /
Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis
Music & Lyrics by:
Interviews conducted by:
Marsha Stephanie Blake
and the authors
Commissioned and developed by The Civilians, Steven Cosson, Artistic Director, Kyle Gorden, Producing Director, with the assistance of the Sundance Institute, Colorado College, and Center Theatre Group. Development supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Z-Space Studio, San Francisco, CA
Developed in a residency January 8th thru February 14th, 2007 at Colorado College, Tom Lindblade, Drama and Dance Department Chair, with Chris Benz, Katherine E. Dawson, Ellen J. Evers, Christine Gonzalez, Vincent Gumlich, Alexandra Hesbrook, Robin Hutchins, Hugh Johnson, Elizabeth Kancilia, Annie Kelvie, Sarah Lee, Meghan Murrah, and Adam Stone.
Special thanks to Colorado College and the staff of the Department of Drama and Dance for making this project possible, particularly Tom Lindblade, Shaylan Quinn, Christian Medovich, Tree Priest, and Dean Susan Ashley and the students. Thanks to Phillip Himberg, the staff of the Sundance Theatre Lab, and actors Billy Eugene Jones and Shannon Cochran; Michael Ritchie, Kelley Kirkpatrick and Center Theatre Group; Z Space Studio and David Dower; and special thanks to Studio Theatre, especially Joy Zinoman and Serge Seiden.
The Civilians is deeply grateful to the people of Colorado Springs who participated in the creation of this play, generously shared their time, offered their guidance, and invited us to attend their meetings, church services and family dinners. While it is impossible to list all the individuals and organizations who participated in this project, we would like to thank those organizations that offered significant and ongoing support: New Life Church, The Mill, the Revolution House of Prayer, Vanguard Church, The Citizens Project, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Woodmen Valley Chapel, and Coloradans for Fairness and Equality.
THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY received its world premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky, in a co-production with Studio Theatre, opening on March 5, 2008. It was directed by Steven Cosson, with the following cast: Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Ian Brennan, Brad Heberlee, Dori Legg, and Stephen Plunkett.
The play was subsequently presented at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., in a co-production with the Actors Theatre of Louisville, opening on June 11, 2008. It was directed by Steven Cosson, with the following cast: Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Aysan Celik, Matthew Dellapina, Brad Heberlee, and Stephen Plunkett.
It was subsequently produced by Center Theatre Group, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, California, in a co-production with Vineyard Theatre, opening on September 21, 2008. It was directed by Steven Cosson, with the following cast: Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, Brandon Miller, Stephen Plunkett, and Alison Weller.
It was subsequently produced by Vineyard Theatre in New York, in a co-production with Center Theatre Group, opening on February 22, 2009. It was directed by Steven Cosson, with the following cast: Emily Ackerman, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Brad Heberlee, Brandon Miller, Stephen Plunkett, and Alison Weller.
Colorado Springs Return
Colorado Springs, CO. December 2009
New York, NY. (Winter) 2009: co-production with Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group — Kirk Douglas Theatre
Los Angeles, CA. September 21 – October 26, 2008: co-production with Vineyard Theatre
Washington, DC. June 11 – 29, 2008: co-production with Actors Theatre of Louisville
Actors Theatre of Louisville — Humana Festival of New American Plays
Kentucky. March 5 – 29, 2008: co-production with Studio Theatre
Sundance Theatre Lab
Workshop. July, 2007
Residency. January 8 – February 14, 2007