2007-08 Season 6

St. Mark’s Gospel

Conceived and Originally Directed by Sir Alec McCowan
Directed by Paul Takacs

June 2008

The idea to do St. Mark’s Gospel as a one-person theatrical presentation was conceived by Alec McCowan in 1976. On November 22 in 1977 he gave a recital of St. Mark’s Gospel into a tape recorder. Exactly one year later, on November 22, 1978, he performed St. Mark’s Gospel at the White House.

For eighteen months, beginning in 1978, Alec McCowan toured the show throughout England and also performed it on Broadway garnering a Tony Award nomination. In 1979, I was performing at the Folger and my agent called and informed me that I had an audition with Alec McCowan to take over his show. I auditioned with many other actors; was called back to audition with a few others; and a few days later I was offered the job. I was given three months to learn the words and in August of that year I flew to London and rehearsed with Alec for several weeks. After an invited dress rehearsal on a West End stage, I returned to the states and in September of 1979 I began performing the show. For eighteen months, I was fortunate enough to perform the Gospel in many theatres in many states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and in several countries.

Last year, Paul Douglas asked me if I was willing to do St. Mark’s Gospel again. I readily agreed. I called Alec and he gave me his blessing and wished me luck. As I began to work on the lines, I had hoped that some — actually, a lot — of the lines would come back easily. They didn’t. So here I am, twenty-nine years later, offering a performance of St. Mark’s Gospel which holds true to a lot of the staging and ideas of the original. However, without the keen ear, excellent support, and direction of Paul Takacs, this performance would not be possible. Enjoy!

— Michael Tolaydo, June 2008


Michael Tolaydo

Production Team

Director  Paul Takacs
Stage Manager  Elisabeth Purkey
Lighting Designer  Nicholas John
Costume Designer  Leon Wiebers


What They Say

“Tolaydo is starring in the accomplished and understated “St. Mark’s Gospel” for the Theater Alliance, and the text is exactly what it sounds like: the second book of the New Testament.”

The Washington Post

“Mr. Tolaydo has very little recollection of his initial run at the show, either in terms of the lines or his performance. He believes that this show is fuller and richer because he has developed more understanding of the emotions of the characters over the years and gives generous acknowledgement to the role of director Paul Takacs in shaping such a high-quality performance.”

DC Theatre Scene

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