Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Jacksonville Center For The Performing Arts

The production runs now through March 26th.

By: Mar. 22, 2023
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Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Jacksonville Center For The Performing Arts
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Jesus Christ Superstar opened at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday March 21st. The groundbreaking Andrew Lloyd Webber musical first opened in 1971 and has been rocking theatre since. The musical is roughly based on the Gospel's accounts of the events leading up the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The national tour differs from the original musical in that there is no intermission and is completely sung through for about 90 minutes. The actors and actresses did a terrific job at keeping up the energy from beginning to end. It should be noted, if you have never seen the movie or any version of the rock musical, it is difficult to follow which characters are which as they are not addressed by name in most numbers.

The protagonist, Jesus Christ (Jack Hopewell), could be described as a 70s rock and roll star while maintaining a humble and royal demeanor. Hopewell's voice was reminiscent of Steven Tyler from Aerosmith noted in "Trial Before Pilate."

The prolific antagonist, Judas Iscariot (Elvie Ellis) did a wonderful job at portraying the betrayer. Ellis's emotion was evident in "Damned for All Time/Blood Money" and "Judas' Death." Something very clever in "Damned for All Time/Blood Money" was the moment Judas (Ellis) betray Jesus (Hopewell) and as he hands over Jesus' life for the money, he dipped his hands in a chest where they became covered in silver to represent the price, he paid for delivering Jesus into the hands of the Romans, his trust, and his life.

Mary Magdalene (Faith Jones) did a wonderful job playing the famed character from The Bible. Though the relationship insinuated in "I Don't Know How to Love Him" is not actually described in The Bible, the emotion and confusion was very much apparent in Jones's portrayal. She also did a wonderful job in "Everything's Alright."

Some of the most intriguing numbers included Caiaphas and Company. Caiaphas (Grant Hodges) has an incredible voice! I was not anticipating a voice so slow sound so good! Hodges most remarkable moments were "This Jesus Must Die", "The Arrest", and "Trial Before Pilate." The company of Romans were also impressive with the in-sync choreography every time they were on stage.

The whole ensemble was greatly talented. As previously mentioned, the energy was consistent through the whole musical. The choreography was quite impressive. Much of the stage is taken up by the design, including where the band plays inside of the stage design (which I can only hope Jonathan Larson took into consideration when creating Rent). The way the ensemble was able to utilize the small amount of space they had was quite impressive.

Jesus Christ Superstar will be in Jacksonville at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing from March 21-26.


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