Lyric Opera Presents JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Review – Beautiful Spectacle

Each creative aspect of theatre combines to make this production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR something incredibly special. The performances, the choreography, the scenic design, etc. are all individually outstanding, but it’s the final combination of these things that put the experience on another level.

Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Mykal Kilgore Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Jo Lampert Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg

 OLD STORY RE-IMAGINED

 The plot of this now classic Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera focuses on the last few days of the life of Jesus Christ.  The main characters are Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene.  Most audience members will know the gist of the story but may never have seen it portrayed in this bold fashion.  The story is set to powerful rock music that creates a visceral experience for anyone just listening. 

 The best and most simple way to describe this production is big.  To put this into perspective here are some numbers: over 80 artists on stage, 39 ensemble members, 37 musicians, and 90 pounds of gold confetti used at each show.  Big may be an understatement.

 LYRIC OPERA KNOWS SPECTACLE

 The movement of the ensemble as a single body makes every song visually stunning. Choreographer Drew McOnie perfectly guides the cast to become an intense mob at times and a seemingly single being at others.  The precision of the movement is incredible to watch. 

 

Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Lyric Opera - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Photo: Todd Rosenberg

 The onstage violence is worthy of notation as well.  The fate with which Jesus is met can definitely be an uncomfortable event to unfold onstage.  Fight director Nick Sandys toes the line of brutality and an almost beauty with how he creates these events.  It does not shy away from the ferocity by any means but represents it with compassion.

STUNNING TALENT ASSEMBLED

 Heath Saunders gives a heartbreaking and powerful performance as Jesus.  He gets to point that, if you take away the mystique, Jesus is, at his core, just a man who knows he’s about to die.  His incredible vocal range fits perfectly into this larger than life production.  Saunders brings a graceful physicality to the more violent scenes but never lets go of the emotion of the moment.  Jo Lampert gives a calming and stellar performance as Mary.  Her moments are welcome breaks in intensity and her voice is something you will wish was utilized more often.  Her rendition of I Don’t Know How to Love Himis worth the price of admission in itself.  Shaun Fleming stops the show with his cruel yet somehow lovable performance as Herod.  He creates a character both flamboyant and terrifying which is no small feat.

 RECOMMENDED

Top Pick For: Lovers of full rock music
Not recommended for: Lovers of small, intimate theatre

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

When:

Through May 20, 2018

Photos by

Todd Rosenberg and Andrew Cioffi

Cast:

Ryan Shaw

Heath Saunders

Jo Lampert

Candace Edwards

Keirsten Hodgens

Sandyredd

Eric A. Lewis

Cavin Cornwall

Joseph Anthony Byrd

Drew King

Antwayn Hopper

Mykal Kilgore

Michael Cunio

Andrew Mueller

Shaun Fleming

Ensemble:

Ashley Andrews

Caleb Baze

Isaiah Tyrelle Boyd

Jerusha Cavazos

William M. Combs

Richard Crandle

Matt Deitchman

Candace Edwards

Janet Marie Farr

Joseph Fosselman

Brad Giovanine

Scott Gryder

Haley Hannah

Keirsten Hodgens

Antwayn Hopper

Drew King

Eric A. Lewis

Angel Lozada

Adam Michaels

Gabriel Mudd

Kenneth Nichols

Jennifer Noble

James Odom

Kristen Paulicelli

Christina Pecce

Thomas Lewis Potter

Sandyredd

David Robbins

Jaquez Andre Sims

Maia Surace

Clay Thomson

Corinne Wallace-Crane

Ron Watkins

Sherry Watkins

Jonah D. Winston

Michelle Wrighte

Where:

Lyric Opera
20 N. Upper Wacker Drive
Chicago

Tickets:

Online at Lyric Opera
Or by phone at 312-827-5600

 

Creatives:

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Tim Rice

Tom Deering

Timothy Sheader

Tom Scutt

Lee Curran

Nick Lidster

Michael Black

Drew McOnie

Simon Hardwick

Ashley Andrews

Sarah Hatten

Jordan Lee Braun

Rachel A. Tobias

Rachel C. Henneberry

Sandra Zamora

William C. Billingham

Michael Keefe

Nick Sandys

Poppy Hall

James Hassett

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago

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