Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Jesus Christ Superstar. The lyrics were by Tim Rice and the music was by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was directed and choreographed by Ron Kellum. The music directors were Kory Danielson and Tom Vendafreddo. It was about Jesus (Evan Tyrone Martin) in the weeks before his death and Judas’s (Mykal Kilgore) thoughts before he betrayed him. It is about Jesus’ followers Peter (Gilbert Domally), Simon (Mark J. P. Hood), and Mary Magdalene (Felicia Boswell) and what they want from him and who they think he is. It is about the priests Caiaphas (Lorenzo Rush, Jr.) and Annas (Avionce Hoyles) plotting against Jesus to give themselves all the power. It is about devotion, politics, and belief. I think this is a really great show; it has so many great songs and actors. I really loved it!
The first song is called "Heaven on their Minds" and it is sung by Judas. It is about how all of Jesus' followers will soon find out that he is not who they thought he was. Judas thinks Jesus is a good person, but he doesn't think he is the son of God. Judas reminds me a lot of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. He is the person who causes the death of the main character, but he is also the narrator. He isn't really the villain because he didn't really assess or understand the situation correctly. Judas admires Jesus, like Burr admires Hamilton, but then he is also envious of him and doesn't agree with everything he says. It seems like Judas is actually trying to save Jesus from something, so it is almost like he knows how the play is going to end, kind of like Burr in Hamilton. I thought Kilgore did such a great job with the song. He hit those high notes like a boss, and it was so awesome to listen to. He definitely makes you care a lot about Judas and what happens to him in the end--even though everyone knows it is not going to work out too well for him.
"The Last Supper" is when you really start to see Jesus' vulnerability and that he is not just a messiah: he is an actual person. He and Judas get into this huge fight about betrayal and how Judas is going to betray him. Judas thinks that Jesus has too much power. He calls him a jaded mandarin because he thinks that he is drained and as a result is laying around with his power instead of using it to change the world. And then Judas storms off and he sings this amazing high note that the audience went crazy for.
"Gethsemene" was a really great song. This is the scene where you really see Jesus break down. He's not just scared; he's terrified and doesn't know what to do. Which shows that even the people we look up to most aren't fearless. The song is basically about how he's scared of dying, but he knows that he has to. He is very brave, but he still contemplates if there is any way he can get out of this or get through this well. I felt so much for him during this song. He seemed to be feeling every line. It was so heartbreaking and beautiful to watch.
I absolutely loved Herod's Song! Herod (Hoyles) was so fabulous and oh so evil, and his song was so catchy. He is basically demanding Jesus to make a miracle, and then making fun of all the miracles he has performed. He would say stuff like, "Water! Wine!" like "Look I can do miracles too! And I can be a jerk to you at the same time!" It is a cruel thing to do, but it was really funny to watch as part of a big musical number. Whenever he would hit a high note, all of his attendants would ooh and ah and it was pretty funny. His dance moves were flawless, and so were his background dancers and their costumes (by Theresa Ham)! I absolutely loved this scene!
People who would like this show are people who like retellings of old stories, amazing singing, and hilarious Herods. I think that people should definitely go see this show. It is a lot of fun to watch and it feels super meaningful. It had great actors and the singing was amazing. I loved it!
Photos: Liz Logan