JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to Benefit Totem Pole Playhouse
Theatre A Go-Go, Inc. in association with Chambersburg Community Theatre has announced the cast for its upcoming production of the Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar at the historic Capitol Theatre, 159 South Main Street, in downtown Chambersburg, PA. The production is a one-time, special event fundraiser to benefit Totem Pole Playhouse.
Rowan Joseph, the co-owner of Theatre A Go-Go, Inc. and Totem Pole's Producing Artistic Director will direct the musical. Theatre A Go-Go, founded 18 years ago by Joseph and producing partner, Shane Partlow, is a nationally-recognized commercial theatrical Production Company which has produced live stage shows across the U.S. including the world premiere of new plays and musicals in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Joseph's production features a cast of 38 local actors and stars Texas native Owen Beans, a recent graduate of Abilene Christian University in the title role; Pepe Nufrio from Madrid, Spain as 'Judas;' and Isabel Nesti, from São Paulo, Brazil, as 'Mary Magdalene.'
A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is a timeless work set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Joseph expressed his excitement at getting to direct a production of the musical that he grew up with and that he feels is so often presented in a way that can be seen as blasphemous to some Christian audiences. "I have always loved this amazing music and yet found myself hating pretty much every production I saw of the show," Joseph said. "It's always presented with 40- or 50-year-old actors in Biblical-looking clothing or, worst yet, in some strange, over-the-top costumes that look like hippies from Mars. My feeling has always been that the story of Christ's passion and death has held up pretty well for over 2,000 years; who am I to reinterpret that? Our cast is composed almost entirely of teens and twenty year olds, most of whom will be wearing jeans and t-shirts featuring a variety of local charities and non-profit organizations such as the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and the United Way.
Chad-Alan Carr, Executive Artistic Director of Gettysburg Community Theatre and Jennifer Flohr of Baltimore are co-choreographers for the show, and Darren Server will serve as musical director. New York City designers Jonathan Roberston and Caitlin Rapoport are the production's scenic and lighting design team, Wanda Smith-Goshorn is the show's costumer and Gary Greyhosky is providing the sound design. Chambersburg Community Theatre's stage manager, Jessica Doubell, will stage manage the production.
Area actors with leading roles are Lee Merriman, as 'Caiaphas,' Preston Cook as 'Annas,' Brad Barkdoll as 'Simon, the Zealot,' Hunter Daugherty as 'Pontius Pilate,' Chad-Alan Carr as 'Herod,' and Matt Kugler as 'Peter.' Portraying the remaining apostles will be Andrew Zabetakis, Logan Cook, Ian Kress, Bryton Zook, Brent Blair, Kaylor Long, Cody Parson, Seth Thompson and Erik Alexis. The female ensemble cast members are Courtney Burkholder, Cyd Tokar, Jennifer Flohr, Morgan Southwell, Rachel Kern, Emily Sanders, Natasha Fields, Amanda Otto, Johnna Leary, and Stephanie Allee. The children's ensemble consists of Emma Allee, Claudia Doubell, Jacob Kleinman, Jocelyn Merriman, and Denzel Surcica.
Jesus Christ Superstar will be presented for five performances only, Friday, March 23rd at 7 pm, Saturday, March 24th at 2 pm and 7 pm, and Palm Sunday, March 25th at 2 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are currently on sale through the Totem Pole Playhouse box office at (717) 352-2164, option 1, or online at www.TotemPolePlayhouse.org.
PHOTO: Owen Beans (Jesus) is overwhelmed by a crowd of lepers seeking healing in Theatre A Go-Go and Chambersburg Community Theatre's rehearsal for a benefit performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" to support Totem Pole Playhouse.