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BWW Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Kentucky Performing Arts

BWW Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR  at Kentucky Performing Arts

Since the 1970s, Jesus Christ Superstar has been a staple in the ever growing library of musical theatre and pop culture in general. Thanks to a wildly popular album and film. Fifty years later the story and show are still as beloved as when they premiered, as the current 50th Anniversary tour proves. In the fall of 2019 this brand new production hit the road and is proving to be a popular commodity yet again, as it tours across North America. This past Tuesday the production opened in Louisville Kentucky for a week long, near sold out run. This production started in London where it won an Oliver for Best Revival, and premiered in North America at The Lyric Opera of Chicago.

In the interest of complete transparency, I have no connections with the show. I've never seen a production live nor have I seen the movie. I was only introduced to it recently when NBC did their live concert version on TV, which I enjoyed. Seeing as nostalgia doesn't play a huge factor in my thoughts on the show, I found it to be quite enjoyable. It's a modern take on the material that no doubt took some slight elements from the live TV production I mentioned before, as that TV production did so well critically and ratings wise, I can see the appeal to take a new production out on tour, not to mention the lovely coincident of being able to say it's been 50 years since the original.

The performances were universally strong all around from a cast of relatively unknown but insanely talented performers. The cast is lead by Aaron LaVigne and James Delisco Beeks as Jesus and Judas respectively. They are good fits for their roles and display stunning vocal acrobatics in their song heavy tracks (it is sung through you know). They are equally matched by Jenna Rubaii as Mary. She brings a certain power as well as a delicate tenderness that is hard to describe. She makes the most of her somewhat limited stage time.

The design is interesting to say the least. Mostly gold and bronze lit scaffolding as a runway made out of a cross complete the set. The costumes are modern in style as well as the hairstyles as well. The choreography is slick and energetic, but on the whole it feels over choreographed for my taste. While the dancing is great, there's almost so much that at times it distracts more than contributes.

On the whole I really enjoyed this production and I think people should see it. As I said before I'm not a purist, but I think those that are will be pleased with this slightly gritty and modern production. It's worth noting that the production is offering a student rush two hours before show time for 50% off tickets, two per valid student ID. This is definitely a show you should take advantage of seeing, because you rarely see this show put on to this caliber.

Jesus Christ Superstar January 7 - 12

Whitney Hall in The Kentucky Performing Arts

501 W. Main Street

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 584-7777

https://www.kentuckycenter.org/


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