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JC Discuss | Theater | Style Weekly


The first approved dwell efficiency of “Jesus Christ Superstar” was in contrast to the general public debut of another musical; it was a 1971 rock live performance that befell in entrance of 13,000 folks at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.

After being unable to get the backing for a stage manufacturing, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice launched “Jesus Christ Superstar” as an album musical, with Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan performing the titular position. The success of the live performance album led to unauthorized dwell performances of the album happening throughout America, together with Richmond. Court injunctions had been obtained to shut these exhibits.

Shortly after the Pittsburgh efficiency, “Jesus Christ Superstar” debuted on Broadway, then the West End, the place it ran for greater than eight years. Based loosely on the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ final days, the musical has been revived a number of instances, tailored for movie twice and carried out as a dwell televised live performance starring John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper.

At instances, the present has courted controversy, with some non secular teams stating that its interpretation of Judas is just too sympathetic and that his criticisms of Jesus are blasphemous. Some Jewish teams have additionally criticized the present for reinforcing the view that Jewish folks had been answerable for the loss of life of Jesus.

Now this sung-through rock opera’s fiftieth anniversary manufacturing is coming to the Altria Theater as a part of the Broadway in Richmond sequence. In the tour, Mary Magdalene is portrayed by Jenna Rubaii, who was first launched to the album of “Jesus Christ Superstar” as a toddler rising up in Clearwater, Florida.

“My dad is a huge fan of the musical,” says Rubaii. “I remember hearing ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ when I was a little kid.”

Her first theatrical expertise additionally has a observe of serendipity. When the Broadway tour of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s earlier biblical musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” got here by means of Florida when Rubaii was a toddler, she was forged as a member of the refrain. After graduating from the University of Miami, Rubaii was forged within the nationwide and worldwide tour of the Green Day musical “American Idiot,” originated the position of Joelle within the Broadway manufacturing of “Groundhog Day” and was within the worldwide tour forged of “Saturday Night Fever.”

For longtime followers of “Jesus Christ Superstar, Rubaii says the present will probably be completely different from earlier productions they might have seen. This model goals to provide the sensation of attending a rock live performance with a dwell band onstage and actors enjoying musical devices; Jesus Christ will play the guitar.

“It’s really raw. It’s in your face. It’s a very human version of the story, and we really focus on the music. …The root of this production is the original brown album. Expect that incredible music [and] lush orchestration,” Rubaii says. “Our production is a fusion of a rock concert, a passion play, a light show [and] a dance concert. It’s really a visual and sonic feast.”

In enjoying Mary Magdalene, Rubaii says her interpretation is much less that she was a fallen lady who was saved by Christ, however as an alternative a girl dedicated to Jesus’ teachings. Accordingly, her model of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” isn’t a love ballad as a lot as a “discovery of her faith and what it’s like to feel that love from within.”

Broadly, Rubaii says the present’ goals to carry the figures of the Bible again right down to Earth.

“Come see something that has stood 50 years strong,” Rubaii says. “The music is some of the greatest music of all time. It is fast paced, 90 minutes, no intermission. [And] it is some of the best singing I’ve heard in a really long time.”

Broadway in Richmond’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” performs June 21-26 on the Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St. For extra data, go to broadwayinrichmond.com or name (804) 592-3368.








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