Leonardo Defilippis is an actor with a mission: For 28 years, he’s been bringing the saints and the scriptures to life with dramatic productions on stage and screen. He is perhaps best known as the director of the feature film Thérése,, which ran for more than a year in mainstream movie theaters, a surprise film industry success story that astounded Hollywood professionals with the tremendous grassroots support it received. On Friday, September 19, 2008 he will perform at Saint Vincent College and Seminary at the Carey Performing Arts Center, located at 300 Fraser Purchase Road in Latrobe, at 7:30 pm for limited engagement of his one-man production of The Gospel According to John.
When Leonardo was a young Shakespearean actor performing at the Old Globe in San Diego, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, he never dreamed that he would spend his career performing religious productions. But then he went through a personal conversion experience that changed his life, and caused him in 1980 to write a letter to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She wrote back, urging him to perform the Gospel. Her encouragement launched Defilippis in a new direction, which led him to produce seven live productions and six films on the scriptures and the lives of the saints, including his popular Thérése movie. His live productions have toured the United States, Canada and Europe, and have been seen by more than a million people. His DVD performances have also been seen on television and received numerous awards.
The Gospel According to John is Defilippis’ a two-hour tour-de-force performance of the entire gospel, with numerous costume changes and a phenomenal amount of memorization. Through live theater, viewers are no longer eavesdroppers listening to a conversation that took place 2000 years ago, but instead hear Jesus speak to them personally. “Performing the Gospel is a very moving and awe-inspiring experience,” he states. “To speak the words of Christ night after night has been life-changing for me personally.”
Produced in the colorful and symbolic style of a Byzantine icon, The Gopsel According to John is accompanied by a celestial musical score; costumes based on ancient sacred images, and has a beautiful icon as its backdrop. Because the production is taken word for word from the Bible, it transcends denominational barriers, drawing people of all faiths and walks of life to simply listen together, perhaps for the first time, to the entire gospel presented with drama and reverence. No one comes away from the experience unmoved.
There is no fee to attend, although a freewill offering will be accepted. For more information, contact Saint Vincent Archabbey & Seminary at (724) 805-2041.