Jesus Christ Superstar Takes Stage

Broadway rock opera comes to Little Theater

Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

Jesus Christ Superstar, a musical drama, the rock opera created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, depicts the last seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It loosely draws its story from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The show explores the personal relationships, pathos and imagined struggles between Jesus and his disciples, Judas and Mary Magdalene, all within the political turmoil of occupied Israel and the brutality of the Roman Empire.

The first time I saw a full performance of this show I gasped at its reality and its drama,” Lucille Ball Little Theater Director Ann Ecklund said. “It was a moving experience. I don’t want anybody to miss this show.” Ecklund, classically trained in music and grand opera performance, usually directs at least one performance per year at the Lucille Ball Little Theater. “Musicals are among our most popular productions,” Ecklund added.

Jesus Christ Superstar played on the Broadway stage for more than 700 performances in 1971 for its debut. Though loosely based on the Gospels, it contains intentionally ironic allusions to modern day life and jarring anachronisms that give the performance striking relevance in today’s American scene. Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for more than 40 years.

Stage Manager, Julia Pettibon, who had previously stage managed Rapunzel and Junior Guilder productions at LBLT, has worked with Ecklund at the Lucille Ball Little Theatedr many times before. She pointed out that Superstar is one of the first Little Theater productions to use the complete ensemble of new technical stage renovations recently completed. “That means the only challenge left for me is making sure everybody’s where they’re supposed to be and that the set changes and costume changes happen the right way,” she said, delighted with the new back stage improvements.

This show, unlike most musicals, has almost no dialogue of any kind. The only spoken words in the entire production are the last words of Jesus as he dies on the cross.

Don’t miss this show,” Ann said. “People will be really touched by this. Don’t forget, at the time the Romans ruled the whole world with their brutality.” Depicting a figure like Jesus of Nazareth living at such a time offers dramatic opportunities beyond what most people have experienced in church, according to Ecklund. This show promises to offer everyone a powerful and remarkable new way to see the story.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.LucilleBalllittletheater.org/reservations or by calling the box office at (716) 483-1095, or visiting the box office in person at 18 E. 2nd St. in Jamestown.