“Jesus Christ Superstar” proves Super Show Status @ Pantages

Jesus Christ Superstar is a dynamic musical composed by the iconic Andrew Lloyd Weber, with lyrics by Tim Rice, with an almost camp/cult like following and a worldwide fan base.  This spectacular, mesmerizing show from start to finish, in its recent run at the Pantages, surely pleased Los Angeles audiences.  The show is set against the extraordinary backdrop of Jesus’ final days of life, and had an almost uncanny similarity to Hair or Rent, or Tommy, Rocky Horror (as a rock opera), with its ensemble, leads, and rock concert vibe.  The memorable score includes faves, such as “I Dont Know How To Love Him,” and “Superstar,” which many an audience member will sing or hum on his/her way out the door (a key indicator of a hit song).  The songs and high notes are belted out by rock vocalists, the likes of which compare to the stage stars on Broadway or London’s West End.  Each scene contains emotional intensity, each one more riveting than the previous, with thought provoking moments and a stirring score.  Both satiric and tender hearted in one, Jesus Christ Superstar tugs at one’s heartstrings as it reveals Jesus’ inner turmoil as well as interpersonal struggles with his disciples.  Costume design by Tom Scutt was extremely well executed, with creative, more flashy, avant-garde modern touches, as well as authentic adherence to the traditional, muted tone Biblical era garb.  The set, also by Tom Scutt, was both elaborate and simple at various times throughout the show, with exceptional special effects, such as light displays and smoke machines, adding a fantasy/Disney-esque quality to the performance.  Aaron LaVigne impeccably captures both the compassionate and nonchalant/stoic sides of Jesus. James Delisko Beeks portrayed Judas with understanding and sensitivity to the character’s messages and Jenna Rubaii, as Mary, vocals so soft and resonant, delivered meaningful words and lyrics.  Many numbers, replete with half naked cast members, added to the bare, vulnerable human spirit and passion portrayed.  Each and every supporting cast member added his/her own personality and imprint, perfectly commanding the stage in vocal harmony.  Choreography, by Drew McOnie was electrifying; the rock band was phenomenal, conveying the power of the story, and a necessary accompaniment to the performers.  High tech glittery lights and drifting fog culminate the intensity.  Now, fifty years since the original performance, and the music, lyrics, and message still resonates to audiences today.


About Bonnie Priever Curtain Up!

I am a theatre reviewer extraordinairre. I attend and cover theatres ranging from large to small venues, and every subject from musical theatre to dramatic presentations. Also please check out my reviews at www.examiner.com and www.tolucantimes.com my email is bonniedeb13@hotmail.com
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