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Kcet Postpones Drama As Stage Show To Open

October 25, 1985|LEE MARGULIES | Times Staff Writer

A musical drama taped for public television and scheduled to air next month has been postponed by KCET Channel 28 because the live stage show is coming to Los Angeles a few weeks later and one of the producers feared that the telecast might hurt the box office.

Stephen Kulczycki, vice president of programming at the public television station, confirmed this week that KCET had rescheduled the broadcast of "The Gospel at Colonus" in response to a request from Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the Mark Taper Forum and a member of the board of directors of the Theater Group Inc.

It is the Theater Group that is presenting "The Gospel at Colonus" at the Doolittle Theater in Los Angeles from Nov. 27-Dec. 15. The TV version of the unusual musical, which retells Sophocles' "Oedipus at Colonus" with black gospel music, is scheduled to air on most PBS stations Nov. 8 as part of the "Great Performances" series.

KCET, however, has tentatively scheduled the production for a January air date. Station spokeswoman Barbara Goen called the decision to delay it "a courtesy" to Davidson, whom she said had contacted Channel 28 several months ago to express his concern about the proximity of the telecast and stage dates.

She said that other programs in the "Great Performances" series have been moved to different time periods before and that KCET officials saw no reason not to do so again in this case.

"Whenever we can work in a cooperative manner with the other arts institutions in town, we do," Goen said. "It's to everybody's benefit to have those relationships fostered."

Davidson said Thursday that he is very grateful for KCET's decision.

He said that he had feared that a free television broadcast coming immediately before the show was to open here would have kept many potential theater patrons from buying tickets. And, with production costs being what they are these days, he said, "any diminishing of the audience could be fatal."

The TV version of "The Gospel at Colonus," taped during a performance in Philadelphia last month, will air Nov. 8 on KVCR Channel 24 and Nov. 9 on KOCE Channel 50. It features such gospel groups as the J. D. Steele Singers, J. J. Farley and the Original Soul Stirrers and Clarence Fountain and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama.

KIDVID: A group of children's television advocates got together for the first American Children's Television Festival and wound up awarding prizes to just the shows you might have expected.

Winners of the first Alpha Awards for excellence in the production of children's programming included three much praised national PBS series--"Reading Rainbow," "Wonder Works" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"--and the Showtime cable series "Faerie Tale Theatre."

Also honored were two local productions--"The New Image Teen Theatre" from KPBS in San Diego and "Home Turf" from KRON in San Francisco--and two commercial network presentations: "Out of Time," produced by the Educational Film Center of Annandale, Va., for NBC's "Special Treat" series, and "One to Grow On," a series of short informational spots produced by NBC for airing between its Saturday-morning children's programs.

In addition, the festival's board of directors gave special awards to Children's Television Workshop for "Sesame Street" and to ABC for its "Afterschool Specials."

The winners were chosen from among 25 finalists during the course of a three-day conference in Chicago this week, attended by about 160 producers, executives and children's advocates. The festival was sponsored by WTTW-TV and the Central Education Network.

LIVE AID: A telethon to help fight hunger in Ethiopa will be beamed to at least 150 U.S. cities from Nairobi this weekend.

The fund-raising effort, sponsored by Monrovia-based World Vision, will air live Saturday from noon until 11 p.m. on KDOC Channel 56 and also will be shown on tape from 10 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday on KTTV Channel 11.

Gary Collins, the host of "Hour Magazine," will host the broadcast from Africa with his wife, actress Mary Ann Mobley. Art Linkletter, Carol Lawrence and Edwin Newman will serve as co-hosts from a studio in Washington.

"It is our hope that the telethon will remind viewers that while much progress has been made in Ethiopia, the famine is far from over," said Ted W. Engstrom, president of World Vision, a Christian relief agency.

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