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JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to Open Garden Theatre's 10th Anniversary Season


JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to Open Garden Theatre's 10th Anniversary Season

The Garden Theatre (160 W Plant St.) will present the classic rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, showing September 8 - October 1, 2017. This musical kicks off the Garden's 10th Anniversary 2017- 2018 Season. Jesus Christ Superstar is presented by Bob and Dianna Duffy. The show is also sponsored by Outdoor Living Products and Toole's Ace Hardware. The 2017 - 2018 theatre series is sponsored by Evoyent, a Deloitte Network Company.

Jesus Christ Superstar was the first in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tradition of recording a concept album and then creating a musical from it. The stirring rock opera, from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, follows Jesus Christ during his last seven days on Earth. With material borrowed from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, this musical follows the meteoric rise of Jesus' popularity, the devotion and doubts of his disciples, and the radical response by the church priests.

The work is a timeless piece that has captivated audiences all over the world for over 40 years. The Garden's Consulting Artistic Director, Rob Winn Anderson, serves as Director of the production.

"This is a story for all mankind, told with a rock 'n roll edge set in an operatic landscape," Anderson says when describing his approach. "We are employing a contemporary sensibility that is grounded in the foundation of the period from which it originates." Audiences will see these contemporary touches in A.J. Garcia's costuming and in the staging, set design, and technological touches.

"This is one of the most digitally ambitious shows that the Garden has produced to date, because of the synchronization of digital mapping, rear and front projections, moving set pieces, a virtual choir, and a live band - all of which must be cued together with absolute accuracy," explains Anderson.

Set designer Alexander Whittenberg considers the set a "canvas" for the story - a human story on a heavenly scale. Whittenberg is a designer of theatre, film and environments both locally and in New York City. The set itself will transform into many different positions and numerous surfaces will be used for the front and rear projections. Due to the complicated nature of some aspects of the set, an engineer was brought in for consultation. The show's production team includes partners Nth Degree Design and Visual fx, Inc. , an award-winning design, animation and special effects studio, and Good Theory Studios, a design studio that offers a wide variety of world-class motion graphics and live-action work, for the digital "painting on the canvas." These internationally-renowned partners have brought state-of-the-art projection visuals to the Garden's Peter Pan (2014-2015 Season), Singin' in the Rain (2015-2016), and Bonnie & Clyde (2016-2017), elevating the theatrical experience to new levels.

The 22-person professional cast of Jesus Christ Superstar includes Los Angeles-based actor Ben Van Diepen* as Jesus, Shea Rafferty* as Judas, Natalie McKnight as Mary, Mark Wright Ahern as Caiaphas, Brett McMahon as Pontius Pilate, Josh Kimball as Annas, Anachebe Asomugha (previous Garden Theatre role: Mitch Mahoney in Beth Marshall Present's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as Simon, and Kit Cleto (Jesus Péna in TheatreWorks Florida's Hands on a Hardbody, Preacher in Bonnie & Clyde, William Barfee in Beth Marshall Presents' The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) as King Herod. The Apostles include Ethan Contreras, Justin Enrique Ortiz (Shermy in A Charlie Brown Christmas), Erin Robere, Matt Rothenberg, Benjamin Youmans, Peter Heid, Jonathan Dorsey and Christopher Lloyd. Followers include Grace Flaherty (Lucinda in Into the Woods), Mary Catherine Waltman, Angela Sephton, Ellie Roddy (Indian in Peter Pan) and Fabiola Rivera. *Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers, appearing under a special agreement with Actors' Equity Association.

Guitarist Greg Pakstis, a musician well known in the Central Florida area for his musically and visually engaging performances, will perform on stage, often as an expressive companion to the character of Judas. Cindy Wilson, who has danced with several modern dance companies in New York City and has choreographed for international and local companies, is the choreographer for the show.

Tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar are $34 for adults and $30 for seniors and students, with special pricing of $30 for adults and $26 for seniors and students for opening night and Thursday performances. Show times are Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. There will be two Industry Night performances on Monday, September 18th and Monday, September 25th at 8pm with $18 tickets. This musical includes mature subject matter due to frank displays of violence and death, and may not be suitable for all audiences.

For tickets, visit or contact the Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736). Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts of up to 25% by contacting group sales manager Jana Goupil at 407-877-4736 x208.

Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Garden on Plant Street, the Garden Theatre is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching, engaging and entertaining through creative experiences. The 299-seat theatre, which re-opened in 2008, is a historic, atmospheric, professional performing arts venue in a Mediterranean Revival style. The Garden Theatre hosts live plays, concerts, movies and more to the residents of and visitors to the city of Winter Garden. For tickets or additional information, contact the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736) or visit

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