Jesus Christ Superstar
By Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed by Wade Hair
Musical Direction by Justin Scarlat
Choreography Erin Robere
Starring Tony Flaherty, Justin Scarlat and Victoria Perez
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL
How many people can they squeeze in this space, anyway? With a full house and over twenty actors, this show made flying Spirit Airlines look comfy. I’m sure everyone has a passing familiarity with the story: Jesus (Flaherty) preaches reformed Judaism and attracts a huge following yet Judas (Scarlat) worries that things are getting out of hand. Sure enough, Jesus throws a fit in the temple, even though it was his dad who wanted all those complicated sacrifices and really, who keeps sheep around the house in Jerusalem? Caiaphas (A. C. James) and his sidekicks Ananias (Gabe Carroll-Dolci) and The Other Priest (Richard Wyrick) fear the Romans will take it out on them so when Judas shows up looking to do a deal, everyone is happy except Mary (Perez) who just wants Jesus to settle down and take up either of his dad’s professions.
While I’ve an uneasy relation with this show on stage, tonight’s production while claustrophobic was well executed. The singing was excellent over all, with Perez’s Mary nailing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Start Again.” King Herod (Wade Hair) channeled Devine with a shorn head and luxurious eye shadow in “King Herod’s Song”, and Rob Delmedico was an elegant and sympathetic Pontius Pilate with moving renditions of “Pilates Dream” and the “Pilate and Christ.” Mr. James was another remarkable vocalist; he can hit lows you’ll only find in Grand Opera or Dixieland jazz. Mr. Scarlat’s Judas was hard to hear; reports indicate he lost his voice and Jesus was uneven, when he projected everything was fine but on the quiet lines in “Gethsemane” he was hard to hear. He also had a tendency to smirk, particularly in the first act. Finally, the size of the chorus was overwhelming but they never tripped over each other and there was some fine belly dancing on stage. This looks to be a popular show and it’s by far the best JCSS I’ve seen. Now if we can only get the stage mom’s to not take flash pictures of their darlings at work…
For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook.