Theatre Out to Present Terrence McNally's CORPUS CHRISTI, 4/25-5/17

Theatre Out to Present Terrence McNally's CORPUS CHRISTI, 4/25-5/17

Theatre Out, Orange County's gay and lesbian theatre, today was pleased to announce the cast and creative team for their upcoming revival of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi. Award-winning director, Tito Ortiz will direct the diverse cast of 13. Corpus Christi will run April 25 - May 17 at Theatre Out. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheatreOut.com or at the Box Office, as available.

Written in 1997 and first produced in New York Off-Broadway in 1998, Corpus Christi is McNally's most controversial play. Corpus Christi's gay portrayal of Jesus and his Disciples as gay men in the modern era sparked immediate outrage from groups such as the Catholic League. The play was boycotted and McNally received death threats because of his exploration of gay themes in Christianity.

Corpus Christi is the retelling of the Christian Jesus story from birth to death. McNally reimagines the story with Joshua as the central Christ figure, a gay man born in the small town of Corpus Christi, Texas. In a series of short scenes, the audience sees the trials of a bullied young man growing up and knowing he is different. Joshua is beat up for being true to his inner self but ultimately manages to escape small town life. On his journey he becomes a teacher and spiritual leader to his Disciples as he imparts a message of love to all those who will listen. His journey brings him full-circle back to Corpus Christi where he is betrayed by his high school boyfriend, Judas, and denied by his disciples.

"Theatre Out has never been shy about presenting bold, thought-provoking work," commented David C. Carnevale, co-producer and co-founder of Theatre Out. "In choosing Corpus Christi for our 2014 season, we saw an opportunity to share with Orange County a powerful message. This is truly a play that has evolved since it was first produced; it was initially seen by many critics and skeptics as merely a Passion Play with a gay Jesus. In the years since it was written, much has changed in the political and social landscape of this country. The play has transcended it's own controversy and now shines bright with a message of love, hope, acceptance and tolerance

"There are themes in the play that may turn people off," commented Ortiz. "But we hope that audiences take with them the understanding of what it is to be divine and ordinary at the same time. In this play, the two are one in the same and that's what makes it so powerful. Yes, the fact that Jesus Christ and his Apostles are all depicted as gay men is something that cannot be overlooked; Terrence McNally added another facet to this classic story by asking a very bold 'What if?' question with very simple and powerful answers that have you thinking about the play's theme for quite some time. There is also the message of equality and this play serves as a call to arms, to challenge us to take responsibility for one another as equals and as truly divine human beings."

The cast of Corpus Christi features Jeffrey Fargo as Joshua and Keith Bennett as Judas. Fargo is best known to Theatre Out audiences for his critically-acclaimed performance in The Dying Gaul and is reprising the role of Joshua from Ortiz's 2011 staging of Corpus Christi in which StageSceneLA raved that his "performance commands attention from his first words." Bennett was last seen on the Theatre Out stage in Tennessee Williams' classic Suddenly Last Summer and the Orange County premiere of Happy Endings Are Extra.

The cast also includes Ricky Abilez, Ty Brittingham, William Gorin, Jason Hughes, Craig Johnson, Andrew Kelley, Sam Kostka, Michael D.H. Phillips, Zachary Porter, David Tran and Christopher Yu.

In addition to Ortiz, Theatre Out's creative team for Corpus Christi brings includes Joey Baital (Scenic Design), Carnevale (Lighting Design, Costume Design), Alexis Stansfield (Stage Manager), Jeff Budner (Production Assistant) and Irene Keogh (Production Intern). Ortiz and the cast have created the unique sound design for the production.

Tickets to Corpus Christi can be purchased online at www.TheatreOut.com or by visiting the Theatre Box Office 1 hour prior to curtain time, as available. Theatre Out is located at 402 W. 4th Street in Santa Ana, California. Performances begin on Friday, April 25 and continue through Saturday, May 17. Corpus Christi plays Thursday - Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. All tickets are $20. Group discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by calling the Box Office at (714) 220-7069. Post-show discussions to be added.

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