Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Wows At The Overture Center

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR runs at Overture Center for the Arts through Sunday, Feb. 26.

By: Feb. 22, 2023
Review: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Wows At The Overture Center
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I feel as a journalist, full disclosure is in order. Jesus Christ Superstar is my all-time favorite musical. I understand that it's technically a "Rock-Opera" but you get the point.

The last time I saw this show live I was a young man. It affected me on a very visceral level. That was back in 1993, the twenty-year celebration. Ted Neely and Carl Anderson starred as Jesus and Judas, respectively. Now, thirty years later, we are at the fifty-year celebration. I was a bit trepidatious about this new modern adaptation. I shouldn't have been.

While the show has always been surrounded by controversy, it has aged well. Yes, Jesus is still white and Judas is still black. (Can some director out there take a chance and make a different choice on this?) However, the people portraying those roles were pretty damn amazing.

Elvie Elles, as Judas, immediately blew the audience away with his initial song "Heaven On Their Minds" and proceeded to hold them captive every time he appeared on stage.

Not to be outdone, playing Jesus, Jack Hopewell's initial "Why should you want to know" during "What's The Buzz" alerted the audience that they were in for a great night of talent and passion.

Faith Jones' portrayal of Mary brought compassion and gentleness to the role that others have missed, especially when dealing with Judas.

The person who stole the show was of course Erich W. Schleck portraying Harrod. Much Like King George in Hamilton, the role was written to be kind of a show stealer, a light romp in an otherwise heavy show.

There were amazing things about this production like the glowing crosses in "The Temple" and the tableau created in "The Last Supper", but my favorite was Jesus casually watching Judas betray him. And things that I did not care for were minimal, hand-held microphones and guitar toting Jesus.


But this was a solid show with fantastic vocals. The bottom line is that you should go see it. My usual "date" couldn't make the show, so I took a friend who was unfamiliar with the show. She knew nothing about it, and afterward raved about how awesome it was. You will do the same.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR runs at Overture Center for the Arts through Sunday, Feb. 26. Tickets ($25-129) are available at overture.org.

Jack Hopewell stars as Jesus, joined by Elvie Ellis as Judas and Faith Jones as Mary. The tour also welcomes Isaac Ryckeghem as Caiphas, Nicholas Hambruch as Pilate and Kodiak Thompson as Annas.

The ensemble includes Ethan Hardy Benson, Joshua Bess, Jordan Wesley Brown, Jahlil M. Burke, Cooper Clack, Emma Cook, Kalei Cotecson, Lydia Eku, Savannah Fisher, Domanick Anton Hubbard, Haley Huelsman, Jeremy Makana Hurr, Brett Hennessey Jones, Lena Matthews, Hosea Mundi, L'Oréal Roaché, Colin Robertson, Darren James Robinson, Erich W. Schleck and Lauren Soto.

Featuring lyrics and music by Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the North American tour of this iconic musical is helmed by acclaimed director Timothy Sheader and cutting-edge choreographer Drew McOnie. Rounding out the creative team is costume design by 2016 Tony Award nominee Tom Scutt, with a set based on original designs by Tom Scutt, lighting design by Lee Curran, sound design by Keith Caggiano, with music supervision by David Holcenberg and music direction by Mark Binns.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane" and "Superstar."

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is a proven musical phenomenon with a world-wide fan base. As demonstrated by NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, this epic work attracted over 9.6 million viewers, earned the highest ratings in its time period and received the highest critical ranking of any live musical event on network TV. On Sept. 17, 2021, a variety of special edition Jesus Christ Superstar albums, remastered at Abbey Road, were released. These special anniversary editions are a celebration of the original 1970 double concept album and its continued success spanning an incredible 50 years.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, selling out two consecutive engagements in 2016 and 2017. The production played a West End engagement at the Barbican in 2019 before returning to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in concert version during the summer of 2020.

The 2022/23 North American Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is produced by Work Light Productions. The original production was produced by London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

For additional information about this production, please visit ustour.JesusChristSuperstar.com.


 


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