Passion Play Director Asks Fairness for McNally
May 31, 1998 in The New York Times
As one who has experienced, first-hand, a media frenzy as the co-director of the Passion Play at the Park Performing Arts Center in Union City with its black Jesus, I can certainly sympathize with the problems Terence McNally faces with the Manhattan Theater Company’s cancellation of his play ”Corpus Christi” under threats of violence.
The substance and the issues here are being lost once again to the banner headlines and the forces of reaction in the church.
In last year’s controversy, the death threats came to my voice mail, and we received an avalanche of coverage about our nontraditional casting. But what is this all about? Wasn’t Love the last commandment? Can’t new ideas, even if controversial, be at least thought about in an open artistic setting?
Let’s read the script and then decide about its virtues rather than take cover.
Mr. McNally’s work has always been a little off-center, but don’t cancel the production before it’s opened, before it’s read, even before it’s born.
DANIEL P. QUINN
Remembering Terrence McNally 1938-2020
The Manhattan Theatre Club called me asking us how to handle their Jesus controversy. We offered our support. McNally had a knack for enormous commercial success derived in part from his Off-Broadway roots from the 1960-70’s. People forget there were failures as well.
The Press and Media always love a scandal. Sometimes this mitigates the truth.
Nonetheless, McNally always bounced back. So did we.