Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at The Morrison Center

By: Nov. 11, 2022
Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at The Morrison Center
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Resurrecting for its 50th-anniversary tour, Jesus Christ Superstar came to The Morrison Center October 28th - 30th. Typically, when thinking about the stories of the Bible, especially one of Jesus Christ's last days on the Earth, you probably wouldn't think of a Rock concert, with bright lights and a band, but this is exactly what Jesus Christ Superstar offers its audience. The show presents an edgier angle to the story many of us grew up hearing.

A bit of a warning for those interested, but unfamiliar with the show. It very much feels like a rock concert with loud music and bright lights mixed with beautiful dancing, amazing costuming, and an emotional retelling of the familiar story of Christ's last days. This show, being a true rock opera, has little spoken dialogue. The music transitions, from one song to the next. To keep the audience's focus , and make the transitions seamless, there is no intermission. So, a word of advice, take your "intermission" before the show and plan accordingly.

The music, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, is truly something you would need to hear to believe. The rock and roll-styled score is filled with falsettos and loud beltings that skillfully bridge the rock elements and the moving story.

One of the elements of this show that I found fascinating was the set. There was an industrial look, metal beams holding up some parts and a cross catwalk center stage. At times with this set, there was concern in my mind that there wasn't enough room for everyone on stage. But they used every single space and made it work. The use of corded microphones also presented a challenge for audience members. I found myself distracted by the concern a cast member might trip or become tangled in the long cords that often laid across the majority of the stage. It was only later, when the microphone cords were used as props, vital to the story, that the lack of cordless microphones became clear.

Now, let's discuss the cast. In the role of Jesus was Jack Hopewell. At the top of the show we get a look into the character. Going from a heart-throb to a troubled rockstar and finally fulfilling his role as the Messiah. One highlight of the show came in "Gethsemane". Hopewell was impressive in this belty number, convincingly portraying the extreme emotions of the moment. Elvie Ellis, as Judas, was mesmerizing. He truly brought the audience in and kept them focused. Faith Jones portrays the role of Mary with perfection. The love Mary has for Jesus was evident in Faith's performance and had my heart aching. Isaac Ryckeghem and Kodiak Thompson ooze contempt as Caiaphas and his lieutenant Annas. Erich W. Schleck is full-out flamboyant as Herod in the larger than life number. Nicholas Hambruch as Pilate was authentic and believable. Every emotion felt by his character was raw and beautiful. Caroline Perry was electrifying in her ensemble/mob leader role. The entire time she was present, I could feel her energy.

Even though the tour has moved to their next stop, if you ever have the opportunity to see this show live, I highly recommend it.

 


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