By Adam Hetrick
01 Jul 2012
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
The new, multimedia staging of Superstar, shaped by Tony-winning director Des McAnuff (The Who's Tommy, Jersey Boys), first debuted in an extended, sold-out run last summer at Ontario's Stratford Festival, nabbing strong critical reviews and the blessing of its writers, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
Prior to the start of Broadway previews on March 1, Superstar played a Nov. 18-Dec. 31, 2012, engagement at the La Jolla Playhouse. Upon its July 1 Broadway closing, Superstar played 116 performances and 24 previews.
The new, high-tech production is the second Broadway revival of the biblical rock opera that debuted on Broadway in 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for a 711-performance run. A 2000 revival, which played the Ford Center, lasted 161 performances.
McAnuff's vision for the production focused Christ's rise as a religious phenomenon through the lens of rapid-fire, present-day media sensationalism, with crawling news tickers indicating time and place. Projections illustrate the atmosphere and population of the last days of Christ, in the Year 33 (as one image indicates). The cinematic flourishes happen on and around a steel-frame (with moving staircases) that serves as the platform for the emotional triangle between Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot and Mary Madgelene.
"I've never really been happy with it before," Lloyd Webber said of Superstar in an interview with Playbill magazine. "Now Des has got it absolutely right. In a way, this version is the opposite to the original in that it's got a grittiness and a reality about it, real rock 'n' roll, and as long as it stays rock 'n' roll, I'm a happy boy. If you go back over the years, it's amazing how many pieces that we now celebrate weren't quite right in their first incarnation. Now, it's right."
|photo by Joan Marcus|
Jesus Christ Superstar earned Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League Award nominations for Best Musical Revival, and Josh Young received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and won a Theatre World Award for his role as Judas Iscariot.
Paul Nolan leads the cast as Jesus Christ, with 2012 Tony Award nominee Josh Young as Judas Iscariot, Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Tom Hewitt as Pontius Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod, Marcus Nance as Caiaphas and Aaron Walpole as Annas.
Completing the cast are Matt Alfano as Thaddeus, Mary Antonini as Elizabeth, Karen Burthwright as Ruth, Jacqueline Burtney as Mary (Martha's Sister), Mark Cassius as Matthew, Ryan Gifford as Bartholomew, Kaylee Harwood as Sarah, Jeremy Kushnier as James the Lesser/Priest, Mike Nadajewski as Peter, Melissa O'Neil as Martha/Maid by the Fire, Laurin Padolina as Rachel, Katrina Reynolds as Esther, Jaz Sealey as Thomas, Jason Sermonia as John, Julius Sermonia as James, Lee Siegel as Simon Zealotes, Leo Ash Evens as Phillip, Sandy Winsby as Andrew, and Nick Cartell, Krista Leis, Matthew Rossoff and Matt Stokes as swings.
Superstar has choreography by Lisa Shriver, musical direction by Rick Fox, set design by Robert Brill, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy and video design by Sean Nieuwenhuis.
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar was by produced The Dodgers and The Really Useful Group, Latitude Link, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, Waxman-Dokton, with Joe Corcoran, Detsky/Sokolowski/Kassie, Florin-Blanshay-Fan/Broadway Across America, REG/Caudwell, Shin/Coleman, Theatre Dreams North America, LLC.
View Playbill.com's highlights from Jesus Christ Superstar here: