The classic 1970s Broadway hit “Jesus Christ Superstar” is now on stage at ACT of Connecticut in Ridgefield. The famous rock opera penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), was a sensation when it opened in 1971. David C. Levine, artistic director of ACT explained prior to the show that the story of the last days of Jesus are well known and the show has been performed many times with the setting being biblical times. This production has been fast forwarded and instead is set in a dark dystopian future where tyrants oppress the lives of their citizens. The production is moody, thought provoking and downright edgy. Mr. Levine tells the audience this will be like no other production of Jesus Christ Superstar you have seen and he is right.
The stage is set with metal railings and stairs, corrugated metal walls and boxes and debris in various shapes. Everything is painted shades of muted gray which is very effective in setting the mood and the somber tone. In the background the audience can see a cross constructed from building girders. It is quite evident this show is not set in Biblical times.
This production draws heavily from Margaret Atwood’s book A Handmaid’s Tale and its television adaptation. The villains of this production are those who are attempting to control society by oppression and the suppression of free thinking and ideas. Jesus and his disciples are seen as rebels who need to be suppressed. The tale is dark much like A Handmaid’s Tale but it is not without hope and light. The two hour performance had the audience’s eyes riveted to the performers the entire evening.
The music of Jesus Christ Superstar is classic in its own right with a score of 1970’s rock inspired songs which lifts the audience up and carries it along through the performance.
There are wonderful performances from the large cast who breathe energy into the famous score with their fantastic harmonies. Brett Stoelker as Jesus has a fine voice and amazed the audience with his vocals including some of his sustained high notes. Tony nominated Caitlin Kinnunen as Mary gave a warm and wonderful performance that resonated with the audience. The rest of the excellent cast includes, Avionce Hoyles as Judas, Chris Balestriere, Corinne Broadbent, Reggie Bromell, Susie Carroll, Ben Cherington, Randy Donaldson, Courtney Long, Marlena Hilderly Lopez, Kelly MacMillan, Michael McGuirk, Val Moranto, Ariel Neydavoud, Andrew Stevens Purdy, Isaac Ryckeghem, Sonya Venugopal, Cole Wachman, and Caitlin Witty.
This is a unique production which showcases the amazing creative energy of the team at ACT. The transformation of this classic Broadway show into a relevant, provocative and modern tale is a something not to be missed.
Directed by David C. Levine with choreography by Sara Brians, music direction by Jeffrey Campos, music supervision by ACT of CT’s Grammy nominated Bryan Perri, scenic design by Jack Mehler, costume design by Claudia Stefany, and lighting design by Penny Jacobus.
Come see innovative Broadway quality performances right in your backyard.
Shows run through April 17, 2022.
For tickets and information
Act of Connecticut
36 Old Quarry Road Ridgefield Ct
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