I’ve been a fan of “Jesus Christ Superstar” since I was a child when my mom took me to see first the movie, then the actual theater production, in the 70s.
I then had a chance to see the 1992 touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” with the movie’s stars Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson.
So I super excited to see the current touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” celebrating 50 years of the show, which is at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando this week.
This production is different from what I’ve experienced before, but it was still very thrilling to watch.
The staging is as if a theater production and a concert performance had a baby together…that’s the best way I can describe it.
The stage set up had very little moveable parts, and consisted of a multi-level framework where the live band performed in the middle, and the top and bottom layers were areas used by the actors and dancers.
Running on stage not from the wings, but from the audience, the cast immediately launched into song and didn’t let up until the end.
The show has almost no dialogue, but instead the story is told solely through the music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Sometimes they were performing as if it were musical theater with dancing and routines. Other times, they just plugged in a guitar and performed as if in concert.
There were definitely stand-outs, though. Aaron LaVigne and Omar Lopez-Cepero held their own as the leads, Jesus and Judas. I was especially impressed that LaVigne hit the high notes on “Gethsemane.”
Also of note was Paul Louis Lessard who imbued his King Herod with equal parts sass and contempt, and Tyce Green as Annas, who just oozed danger and conniving.
I also enjoyed some of the unusual staging and performance choices like using gold glitter in place of a whip during “Trial by Pilate/39 lashes,” and the staffs used by the corrupt High Priests of Jerusalem, which turned around to become microphone stands.
The only nit I have to pick is it felt like the crucifixion as the end went on a touch too long. But it’s a minor thing.
There is no intermission in this production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” just like a concert, so if you go, definitely visit the bathroom before the show starts.
But definitely see it before it leaves town on June 12, 2022. You will never see another show like it.
Tickets are available at DrPhillipsCenter.org, and at the venue box office.
Disclaimer: CSO received media tickets for purpose of a review. As always, my opinion is honest, and my own.
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