Jesus Christ Superstar

Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar was part of Broadway Across Canada‘s 2020/2021 line up, and obviously, because of the pandemic, it was postponed a couple of times which at least is great because they managed to reschedule the show instead of cancelling it completely. The show finally made it to Vancouver and I was finally able to see a live production of this musical which has been on my favourite list but have not actually seen live. Well, that changed now, and how.

Curtain shot of Jesus Christ Superstar

I can go on and on about how I loved this production but let me give you a general idea why this one is a not-to-be-missed show:

Set and staging – it was very tight but made good use of every space. We’re not made to whip our heads left to right because it brought the action within a specific range. You can’t miss anything and (depending on the theater) every seat may have been a good seat – at least I think our theater was like that.

Dancing – I’m a sucker for good choreography and this truly did not disappoint. Drew McOnie’s work is such a sight and it complimented the music perfectly. It’s something to see that’s for sure.

Orchestration – just the cast recording itself will give you goosebumps so just imagine listening to it live. A couple of times I found myself closing my eyes and just absorbing the score. Oh and some of the performers do play instruments to add to the onstage small-sized orchestra of six. Yes, that’s only six but it sounded like there were way more.

Ensemble – this is a new set of cast. This was ferocious. The show was performed with so much emotion, precision, and perfection. One of tne best ensemble I’ve seen in a while.

Principals – Top tier. Shout out to leads Jack Hopewell, Elvie Ellis, and Faith Jones, playing Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene, respectively, equally giving very powerful performances, and giving their roles larger than life versions without being overly acted. Same goes to the supporting casts, specifically Kodiak Thompson (Annas), Nicholas Hambruch (Pilate), Isaac Ryckeghem (Caiphas), and Erich W. Schleck (Herod), among others. Some of my favourite parts in the musical (pre-experience) are “This Jesus Must Die”, “Heaven On Their Minds”, “The Last Supper”, “Trial by Pilate”, and – of course – “Superstar” numbers, and the performances I got to see solidified my favouritism of these numbers, thanks to these performers.

The 50th anniversary touring show is based on London’s Regent Park Open Air Theatre production and presents a yet another iteration which I was so glad to experience. The timelessness of the musical got stronger with this one and will surely extend its life into another 50 years. The North American tour continues and I really recommend seeing this production before the next one comes.

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