Niviene (niviene) wrote,

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Jesus Christ Superstar - Lower Ossington Theatre

As this seems to be JCSS month here in the little apple we've been seeing the musical all over town. I went to the Lower Ossington JCSS production not expecting too much. I'd already seen Hart House' production which was fabulous and didn't expect anyone could top it. They didn't sadly - particularly disappointing was Judas. Sat in the last row and half the time I couldn't hear him sing while most of the others were fine. In addition what I did hear sounded like screaming. Didn't like the girl who played Simon either as her voice, although nice, just wasn't powerful enough for the role. The whole production seemed to be a mix of contemporary and tradition as if the director didn't know what he wanted or couldn't figure out how to interpret certain scenes into modern. For me either you go one or the other - modern or traditional - decide which. Even the clothing sent mixed messages to the audience about the time period. The choreography was simple and a tad hokey even if the actors did a decent job executing the moves. Also the acting wasn't good. It's hard to sing and act at the same time.....most people are singers or actors but rarely do you find someone who can do both very well. Let's just say some of these kids won't be Broadway bound if that's their intention. oh and the Jesus wig was horrible - let's not discuss it.

There were lots of lovely elements in this production too....for instance the Sanhedrin including Caiaphas which were all girls - their lovely voices blended together beautifully as well as independently. I can easily say this was the best part of the whole production. Jesus' rock yell was awesome and none of us thought the actor had it in him and I forgave all his other faults jsut for that yell - acting especially which was mezzo mezzo as Italians say. The rock yell makes or breaks several of Jesus' song for me. (No one does it as well as Ted Neely or Eric Kunze....just sayin'.) Also both Pilate who singing of "Pilate's Dream" was the loveliest I've ever was sweet and clear and not over done. Herod were pretty good too even if the dancing was cliche, still the actor did a good job with what he was given. The young woman who played Mary Magdeline had a great voice but her acting left something to be desired. I didn't think she understood at all the seems a lot of people who play the role don't and probably the director didn't either. I've seen only two productions where the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdeline was interpreted correctly imho. The International 2005 production with Eric Kunze and the Jeremy Hutton production at the Ralph Nadal Center with their youth actor group.

Still the musical itself is so enjoyable that you can't help but sing along and enjoy it for what it is. Looking forward to going back to Hart House at the end of their run to see how they've refined their performance.
Tags: musicals
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