PROTEST OVER “CORPUS CHRISTI” IN HIGH GEAR
Catalyst September Issue 1998, Front Page
Over the summer, the Catholic League garnered the support of over 40 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim national organizations, all of which signed a statement of protest against the Terrence McNally play, “Corpus Christi.” The names of the organizations will be released to the press prior to September 22, the night of the preview, and will appear in next month’s Catalyst.
Most of those who will attend the preview of “Corpus Christi” are subscribers of the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC), the play’s producer. The play will hold its premiere, or opening night, on October 13; Catholic League president William Donohue and league director of communications, Rick Hinshaw, are scheduled to see the play before its premiere.
The Catholic League is calling on all of its members in the New York area to picket the site of the play, the City Center, on opening night. We will assemble across the street from the City Center at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 13; it is located on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue. The police have been notified of our protest.
The MTC says that the play presents McNally’s “own unique view of ‘the greatest story ever told.’” But there is nothing unique about blasphemy, especially in the artistic community in the late twentieth century: it’s the norm.
The review of the play that appeared in the Guardian, the well-respected London newspaper, was shocking.
Many Congressmen and Senators are under the impression that the MTC, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), did not receive a grant for “Corpus Christi.” This is mistaken.
In 1996, the NEA awarded $31,000 to the MTC for “Corpus Christi.” However, the MTC subsequently asked the NEA if it could use this grant to fund some other play, to which the NEA said yes. In other words, the NEA is guilty as charged and the MTC is guilty of playing games.