The new national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, with rocker Sebastian Bach in the title role and Carl Anderson as Judas, dawns Nov. 1-17 at the LaMirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in California before traveling the country.
Rocker Sebastian Bach, late of Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway, as previously announced, fills the sandals of the Messiah in the new staging, which borrows elements from the recent Broadway revival, which folded quickly. The new tour has been altered is less militaristic than on Broadway, according to the producer.
Bach and Anderson are joined by Natalie Toro as Mary Magdalene, Stephen Breithaupt as Pilate, Peter Kevoian as King Herod, Todd Fournier as Simon Zealotes, Lawson Skala as Caiaphas, Jeffrey Polk as Annas, James Clow as Peter, with apostles and disciples played by Zeyn Ali, Scott Allgauer, Eugene Barry-Hill, Christian Hoff, Lawrence Cummings, Vince Rimoldi, Noel Douglas Orput, Rocky Rodriguez, John Williford and soul girls and disciples played by Joan Almedilla, Suzanne Harrer, and Natalie Nucci, priests played by Perry Brown, Daniel Guzman, Raymond Patterson, Christopher Carothers, Brent Schindele, Dana Solimando.
* The 2000-2001 Broadway staging of Jesus Christ Superstar was a flop, inspired by a popular staging in England, and was punctuated by contemporary Middle East violence references. Those images will be toned down for the tour, producer Tom McCoy previously told Playbill On Line.
Jesus Christ Superstar rehearsed and teched in La Mirada, CA, and plays a run of Nov. 1-17 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, before heading into the desert to play the Aladdin in Las Vegas, NV. A yearlong tour follows to San Antonio, TX, Greenville, DC, Orlando, Minneapolis, Louisville, Kalamazoo, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Vancouver, Milwaukee, Houston, and Los Angeles, among other cities. The tour will last at least to September 2003.
The Superstar creative team includes director Kevin Moriarty, choreographer David Wilder, musical director Craig Barna (Peter Pan), scenic designer Peter J. Davison, costume designer Roger Kirk (42nd Street), lighting designer Mark McCullough and sound designers Jon Gottlieb and Phil Allen. Davison, Kirk and McCullough all designed the Broadway staging at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in 2000-2001.
McCoy Rigby Entertainment, the Nederlander Organization and the Really Useful Group are partners in the new national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. The Nederlanders and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group approached McCoy about collaborating on a tour of the famed Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice retelling of the last days of Christ. McCoy said he felt the militaristic aspects of Gale Edwards short-lived production on Broadway in the 2000-2001 season would be a hard sell on the road, particularly following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America.
"All those machine guns and 'Nazis' on stage and a lot of the blood and bumping and grinding. I'm not sure it served the purpose of the show so well," McCoy told Playbill On Line in late 2001. "I felt that it would not work whatsoever [on tour]."
Director Gale Edwards was not available to stage the tour. Her assistant director, Kevin Moriarty, will take on the job and make adjustments to the show's concept, while still "honoring" her version, McCoy said. Expect it to be a kinder and gentler Jesus Christ Superstar, more in the tradition of the U.K. staging by Edwards. McCoy said the Broadway version was more explicitly violent and sexual than the U.K. production.
"Especially since Sept. 11 what we can't do is have a bunch of guards on stage with machines guns," McCoy said. "It's the wrong message at the wrong time. It needs to be a more joyful experience."