Little Theatre To Present ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ This Month

The Lucille Ball Little Theatre will present its production of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” later this month, with 7:30 p.m. performances scheduled for Friday, April 20; Saturday, April 21; Friday, April 27; and Saturday, April 28; as well as 2 p.m. matinee performances on Sunday, April 22 and 29. Cast members are pictured performing a number during halftime at a Jamestown Jackals basketball game at Jamestown Community College on Tuesday. Submitted photo by Jerry Costantini

In the wake of Easter weekend the Lucille Ball Little Theatre is set to stage a musical based on the story behind the national holiday.

The 18 E. Second St. theater will present its production of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” later this month, with 7:30 p.m. performances scheduled for Friday, April 20; Saturday, April 21; Friday, April 27; and Saturday, April 28; as well as 2 p.m. matinee performances on Sunday, April 22 and 29.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” was written by Andrew Lloyd Weber, with lyrics penned by Tim Rice, and was released in 1970 as a concept album before premiering on Broadway the following year. The musical is mostly sung-through, with little spoken dialogue, and the story is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’s life — beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion.

It depicts political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus that are not present in the Bible, and is uniquely presented through the eyes of the former. The musical is demanding from a vocal standpoint, however, according to Anne Eklund, artistic director of the Little Theatre production, her cast of 23 local performers are up to the task.

“This is a really high-energy show, and we’ve got a lot of talent people with great voices,” Eklund said. “It’s a story everybody knows, but we don’t really pick apart all the suffering and turmoil that was going on at that time.”

Eklund said this production has challenged her in a directorial sense, as she typically oversees the Little Theatre’s smaller productions and casts of roughly half the size of this one. But, in spite of this, she is happy with how rehearsals have been progressing through the past two months, and is confident in the abilities of her cast and crew to pull off a convincing, enjoyable performance.

“The costumes are a mixture of modern day and Biblical times, and we’ve had Norm Merrill and Jerry Costantini assisting our technical director, Jason Dorman, with these beautiful set pieces,” she said. “It’s just going to be a great show; everybody is so energetic and ready to go. And their acting is superb, I don’t think there’s going to be a dry eye in the place by the end. I think a lot of people are going to feel a lot of emotion.”

The cast will include Derek DeVlieger, Scott Costantini, Kenzie Mason, Jim Foley, John Pickett, Ed Coverdale, Steve Wendell, Peter Larson and Donovan Gomez in the respective roles of Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas, Annas, Pilate, Peter, Simon Zealotes and Herod. Ancillary and secondary roles will be portrayed by Earl Rothfus, John Linza, Joann Liffner, Heidi Erickson, Melissa Vullo, Emily Hanson, Kim Larson, John Mead, Andrew Roby, Andrew Garvey, Matt Jones, Andrew Liuzzo, Marika Koch and Carl Liuzzo.

Tickets for “Jesus Christ Superstar” are $20 or $10 for students. They can be purchased at the Little Theatre box office, by calling 483-1095 or by visiting lucilleballlittletheatre.org.

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