Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at BrightSide Theatre

Production runs through June 23.

By: Jun. 08, 2024
Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at BrightSide Theatre
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What’s the buzz…

I will tell you what’s happening. The last production for the 12th season at BrightSide Theatre is the 1971 Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice theatre-changing rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The cast of 21 actors along with an 8-piece orchestra – located at the back of the stage – under the direction of Jeffrey Cass and Phil Videckis respectively, bring this masterpiece to new heights. Jeffrey Cass is also the scenic designer. The intimate setting of the theatre and the size of the stage are used to great effect. Simple yet commanding. Kurt Ottinger’s lighting design fits each piece of the story. Cheryl Newman’s costumes combine Biblical images with modern-day design. The cast will give you chills – both vocally and visually. The choreography by Jake Ganzer is brilliant.

The cast works so tightly together it is seamless. Edward MacLennan portrays Jesus and Michael Davis Arnold as Judas (BrightSide debut). They will leave you breathless and wanting to hear more. Meghan Kessel as Mary Magdalene performs her two well-known songs in such a personal way you think she is talking to you. Jon Cunningham’s portrayal of Pilate is mesmerizing. Caleb Hand is the living large King Herod. Throughout the story, there are three Tormentors. Kassidy Alderman, Julia Hope Budd, and Amber Golich (all making their BrightSide debut) portray these characters. Dressed in red, they are creating havoc. The beginning of Act Two is the preparation for the Last Supper. The tableau created at the table is very recognizable. Brilliant and a much-deserved round of applause from the audience. As the story moves towards its conclusion, the sadness and despair is keenly felt. The final scene delivers the emotional impact it should.

Revisiting a classic is always a risk. However, BrightSide has delivered an amazing production that should be seen and shared. The production runs through June 23. The way things are in the current World, one needs to be reminded about the most important lesson which was taught: love no matter who you are or what you believe. It is a very important lesson. We need it now.


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