The Mystery Cycle: The Creation, Court Theatre, Professional Theater at the University of Chicago

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
January 10, 1992 – February 16, 1992

Critical Response for The Creation

“The stories are rooted in the Medieval mystery plays, but [Bermard] Sahlins’ adaptation is very free an playful. God, for example, played by Matt DeCaro in white coveralls and a hardhat, is hoisted aloft in an industrial lift, where he appoints Lucifer (Johnny Lee Davenport) as his partner. . . . the adaptation, directed by Nicholas Rudall and Sahlins, is so unusual, and the setting the Rockefeller Chapel is so dramatic . . . the show is a memorable experience.”
Tom Valeo, Daily Herald (January 18, 1992)

“Lucifer (Johnny Lee Davenport), in a black leather jacket, flies into town on a throne propelled by chrome auto fenders. . . . This is the Bible as it is being brought to life in ‘The Mystery Cycle: Creation’ in Court Theatre’s ingenious modern interpretation of Old and New Testament stories. . .  Audience members choose to perch freely around the central action so they can join in the dancing and candlelighting ceremony that are integral parts of the production. . . . This participatory spirit, reminiscent of the 1960‘s, but also true to the cycle’s origins, endows the action with an immediacy and accessibility that clearly had great appeal for those at the performance I attended. . . . ‘The Mystery Cycle’ is most winning in the way it suggests what theater was like when religion, art and daily life were happily and casually intertwined.”
—Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times (January 20, 1992)

“[Bernard] Sahlins and his codirector Nicholas Rudall . . . employ conscientiously color-blind casting to make the show reflect its time and place. Lucifer, clad in leather jacket and boots, is black; so is Gabriel, outfitted with white crepe wings and aviator’s goggles. Mary is black, Joseph is white, and Jesus is a bundle of white cloth tenderly folded by Mary as a nice metaphor for the virgin birth. . . . [T]he cast . . . generates the warm sincerity the show needs to establish contact with its audience. Standouts in a remarkably consistent ensemble include Johnny Lee Davenport, all fire and brimstone as Lucifer.”
—Albert Williams, Chicago Reader (January 23, 1992)

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