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. 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. Through March 15.
This Beautiful City
February 22, 2009
By Adam R. Perlman
If you've been under the vast Colorado sky, where the firmament is so clear that the stars look close enough to touch, you have some idea why evangelicals think it's God's country — and why locals won't be so easily driven away. Their uneasy marriage — and the unease evangelicals have with certain types of marriage — is the subject of the Civilians' striking new piece This Beautiful City.
In case you missed Gone Missing or any of their other efforts, the Civilians engage in what they call "creative investigation of actual experience." And while investigating Colorado Springs, the capital of the evangelical movement, they were greeted with manna from heaven: Ted Haggard, leader of Colorado Springs' New Life Church and the National Association of Evangelicals, went down in the most sensational of scandals: Sex and drugs. Better, hookers and street drugs. Better yet, a gay hustler and crystal meth . . .
COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
Play's version of Springs is not all ‘Beautiful'
June 14, 2008 – 1:45 AM
SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Colorado Springs, or one version of it, took the national stage this week, as a documentary-style musical about the city's evangelical movement premiered in the Studio Theatre.
Turns out, for many Washington theatergoers, "This Beautiful City" was a comedy and a horror show.
Chloe West, whose unabashed laughter filled the theater throughout the night, summed up many people's feelings.
"I knew Colorado Springs was a gorgeous place, but that's pretty much all I knew," she said. "After seeing the show, yeah, I am a little scared. Would I ever want to live there? Probably not . . . "
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
"This Beautiful City"
Through March 15
Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th St.
Tickets: $60; (212) 353-0303
Colorado springs to life in 'This Beautiful City'
Go west! That's what the Civilians did to create "This Beautiful City," a humbly praiseworthy piece of investigative theater about the evangelical Christian movement in Colorado Springs.
In 2006, members of the troupe spent 10 weeks in the mountain metropolis, interviewing locals — from conservative Christians, secular liberals and Air Force Academy cadets to park rangers and a Celtic wiccan.
Oh, yeah, and one of Ted Haggard's sons.
NEW YORK POST
SERMONS ON THE MOUNT
By FRANK SCHECK
THE Civilians hit the jackpot when they went to Colorado Springs, Colo., to research "This Beautiful City." While the theater troupe interviewed residents of the area that's ground zero for the evangelical Christian movement, the news broke about Ted Haggard, then the pastor of one of its biggest megachurches . . .
THE NEW YORK TIMES
In a Transformed City, Falling in and Out of Grace
Published: February 23, 2009
The glazed, slightly crazed smile of Ted Haggard, the leader of a megachurch in Colorado who was ousted in a jiffy after a sex and drugs scandal, makes a cameo appearance in “This Beautiful City,” the latest work of cultural anthropology from the Civilians, which opened Sunday night at the Vineyard Theater. But Pastor Ted’s supersize fall from grace is a story no stranger than many others in this engaging, inquisitive and evenhanded work of theater about the transformation of an American city and many American lives.
The Civilians' This Beautiful City
(Kirk Douglas Theater; 317 seats; $45 top)
Evangelism and investigative journalism share a passion to open other people's eyes to "the truth." As such, "This Beautiful City" impresses as a work of religious inquiry and engaged reportage. Steven Cosson and Jim Lewis weave first-person interviews in Christian boomtown Colorado Springs, conducted by theatrical community activists the Civilians, into a fascinating crazy quilt on faith's role in American life. Each side gets intel on its opponents, and some may be moved to question their own assumptions en route . . .
The work of Steven Cosson and The Civilians is included in the Applause Theatre and Cinema book One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century.