Jesus Christ Superstar/music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; lyrics by Tim Rice/directed by Marco Gomez/DOMA Theatre Co at the MET Theatre/through March 22

Back in the early 70s I was enthralled by the majestic overture of Jesus Christ Superstar and by the gripping power of the lyrics.This is operetta at its best, where the entire story must come to fruition through the singing. When done well, these Bibilical characters come off the pages as real human beings with raw emotions; because of this musical endeavor, we more clearly understand the motivations of Christ, the adoration of his disciples and Mary Magdalene, the bewilderment of Pontius Pilate and Herod and try to see how one friend may betray another. I was so moved that as a Catechism teacher, I played the Webber/Rice score for my classes to stimulate their critical thinking. Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson and Yvonne Elliman provided sterling vocal interpretations that made the whole process so richly rewarding. But, religious or not, audiences across the board are deeply moved by the elegant score, and DOMA's re-envisioned production now onstage at the MET is splendiferous with a terrific cast that can all really sing and move.

This ensemble, under the even hand of Marco Gomez, is just terrific. Nate Parker has such gentility as Jesus. He brings sweetness, warmth and a genuine sense of human frustration to the divine leader. Jeremy Saje is amazing as Judas with a voice that is put to its best use in a rock opera of this type. His "Judas' Death" in Act II will shake you right out of your seats. Kelly Brighton as Pilate is also incredibly strong. His eleventh hour dramatic unraveling in Act II "Trial Before Pilate" is utterly gripping and inspiring. Renee Cohen gives Mary Magdalene a committed, caring support and does beautiful work with "Everything's Alright" and particularly "I Don't Know How to Love Him". Andrew Diego uses is deep bass tones to perfection as Caiaphas, and Venny Carranza is a gaudy scene stealer as Herod with his delicious "Try It and See". Kudos as well to Michelle Holmes, so wonderfully slick and evil as Annas... and to the entire ensemble.

John Iacovelli's set design of an open stage with steel staircases and walkways and revolving walls for surprise entrances works expertly, and Lauren Oppelt's costumes are a delightfully eclectic assortment showing street pacifists, terrorists, men in black suits and Vegas showgirls, befitting the ultra-modern interpretation of the piece. Praise to Marco Gomez for his novel vision that works optimally and to Angela Todaro for her splendid choreography. These kids work their tushes off from the moment the lights hit the stage.

DOMA's new spin on Jesus Christ Superstar is visually uplifting and joyous to watch from top to bottom. Don't miss it!

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From This Author Don Grigware