’97 ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ cast returning for concert

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BATH —  In May of 1997, the Chocolate Church Arts Center produced Jesus Christ Superstar to sellout audiences. Twenty years later, CCAC has assembled the original cast for a 20th anniversary concert presentation, Friday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m.,. and Saturday, 15,  at 2 and 7:30 p.m.  on the main stage located at 804 Washington St.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice.  The musical is based very loosely on the gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. It highlights political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus, struggles that are not in the Bible. 

“I have to admit I was a little intimidated when I got the script and found it contains absolutely no stage direction,” said Thom Watson who returns as the director. “The story tells itself, in beautiful music, and that is why this musical has withstood the test of time.” 

According to Watson, he was approached by original cast member Marc Rodriguez and Mark McNeil, who returns as the music director, with the idea to get the group back together. “My first thought was that we’d never find all the original cast but I was wrong. Word got out quickly, and with very few exceptions, the 1997 cast was on board right away.” 

Original cast members reprising their 1997 roles include Ron Bouffard of Boothbay as Jesus; Gregory Charette of Portland as Judas; Teresa Henderson of Gardiner as Mary Magdalene; John York of South Portland as Pontius Pilate; Sheldon Bird of Bath as Caliphas; Sumner Richards of Damariscotta as Annas; Marc Rodriguez of Bath as Peter and Dennis Doiron of Phippsburg as Simon Zealots.  Ben Proctor of Brunswick joins the cast as King Herod. 

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“There are times in the history this organization when magic happens,” said Jennifer DeChant, executive director of the Chocolate Church. “It is when the cast and the crew and the material and the music align. This collaboration is an example of that when the cast contacted each other, approached their director and pulled together.”

This concert version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” will focus on the music and the storytelling. Audiences appreciate the contemporary attitudes and sensibilities as well as the lyrics and ironic allusions to modern life that are scattered throughout the depiction of political events. After two decades, the creative energy and commitment of local actors and musicians have been re-ignited. This concert version will deliver a theatrical experience steeped in style and musicality. 

Tickets are $12 advance and $15 at the door and available by calling 207-442-8455 or purchasing online www.chocolatechurcharts.org.  

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