With Easter around the corner the Sam Houston State University department of theatre and dance is presenting “Jesus Christ Superstar,” by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, in the Mainstage Theatre at 8 p.m. through April 8.
Director of the rock opera and theatre professor Maureen McIntyre said, “The play is our Easter gift to the university and the community.”
“Jesus Christ Superstar” opened on Broadway in 1971, and now it is considered to be what McIntyre describes as “one of the great ones” in musical theatre.
“I chose the piece because it’s an amazing story with incredible music,” said McIntyre.
She added, “The play is a joyous celebration of a Jesus’ life and the desire of the cast is to take the story out of the stained glass and into the hearts of the audience.”
The SHSU cast of 36 includes: Derrick Davis, Jon-Michael Hamman, Briana
Resa, Nkrumah Gatling, Robert Evans, Aaron Thacker, James Arrington,
Jordan Estes, Adam Gibbs, Cameron Worthen, Greg Hall, Henry Gundacker,
Craig Brossman, Matt Johnson, Rodrick Randall, Josh Bandineaux, Tony
Johnson, Nathan Lahay, Craig Foster, William Dehorney, Darrell Joe,
Daniel Morin, Lloyd Osborne, Nathan Linn, Rachel Saunders, Mikah Horn,
Ariana Cook, Jacqui Grady, Rebekah Harris, Julie Hill, Shannon Walsh,
Alissa Lavergne, Jaime Robinson, Blythe Herring, Jen Lucy and Jennifer
The rock opera deals with the last week of Jesus’ life on earth.
Derrick Davis, who plays Jesus, said, “I did a lot of research; I started by reading scriptures from the certain books in the Bible like John and Peter. I also got online and looked up the seven emotional stages that a person goes through when they know they are going die.”
The story is told through the point of view of Judas, who is played by Jon-Michael Hamman. It explores the personal struggles of a man who ultimately deceives Jesus.
Hamman said, “There are so many different interpretations on why Judas betrayed Jesus. I had to come up with my own reason on why he betrayed him.”
The play also depicts a tender teacher-student relationship between Mary Magdalene, who is played by Briana Resa and Jesus.
The audience will also have to endure the brutality that Jesus faces in the courts of Pontius Pilate, who is played by Aaron Thacker and King Harold,who is played by James Arrington.
Along with the choreography the entire performance is sung opera style.
Jen Lucy said, “I’ve never done a full performance with constant singing; I found you really have to build up your voice to get through the entire program.”
Hamman added, “The performance is vocally fatiguing; I have to drink tons of water.”
Choreographer Jonathan Charles said the hardest part was “keeping it true to the story line while keeping the flavor of the 1970’s rock musical.”
Tickets for “Jesus Christ Superstar” are $12 for general admission and $10 for SHSU students with an ID and senior citizens. There will also be a matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The play does contain some adult content and children under the age of three will not be admitted.