Honestly, I found out it was part of our season when Eli asked me if I would like to direct the production. It was an immediate “Yes!”
You have a history with this show having performed in it at the start of your acting career. How has the piece changed meaning for you, over the years, and now serving as director instead of performing in it?
I’ve literally grown up with Jesus Christ Superstar. When I was 10, I got Kiss Destroyer and the Superstar concept album from my Uncle Jim. It was my first musical EVER. It was my kind of rock and roll. I knew the story already, from church, and I memorized every word. At 19, my first role in Indianapolis was Jesus. I played Jesus again a few years later in Summer Stock, and then Judas when I was 25. I was so young, around the age of a lot of my cast. I guess I took it at face value. It was a rock musical telling of the last days of Jesus. It’s almost 40 years since I discovered Jesus Christ Superstar, and 25 since I last performed it. A lot has happened since then, not only in my life but in the world. My views on God and religion have changed. Approaching this production now, as a director, it means something completely different to me. It is the story of two men and their friends, who started a movement which goes tragically wrong.
How do you hope the rock opera score and tone of the musical affect the audience’s perception of the story of Christ’s final days?
The music is, at the same time, classic 1970’s rock and timeless. There are moments of absolute joy and humor followed by longing and sorrow. It is my favorite Webber and Rice score (with Evita nipping at its heels).
What do you believe will surprise the audience most?
I hope they’ll be surprised at how “human” the story is. I’d like for them to be able to relate to how the characters feel, realizing their mission has gotten out of control and they can’t stop it.
Video Credit: Runefilms