Jesus Christ Superstar coming to Potters Bar
PUBLISHED: 22:02 17 October 2011
EXACTLY 40 years after Jesus Christ Superstar opened on Broadway, the show is coming to Potters Bar this week.
ELODS, a local theatre company, has secured the rights to perform the show, a rare occurrence for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
It plays at the Wyllyotts Theatre, off Darkes Lane, for five days from tomorrow (Tuesday) night to Saturday, October 22.
Jesus Christ Superstar has always enjoyed huge popular success.
It reached number one in the Billboard charts when it was originally released as an album, making its transfer to the stage inevitable.
The first professional stage performance of the show opened in New York in October 1971, and did well.
It was nominated for five Tonys, including one for best original score.
But the show’s composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, was disappointed with the production which he held partly responsible for the show’s short run of just 20 months.
The London debut the following year was more modest and ultimately more successful, becoming the longest running West End musical at the time when it closed eight years later.
It went on to play in countless international productions and two critically acclaimed film versions.
Agnetha Faltskog, in her pre-ABBA days, even starred as Mary Magdalene in a 1972 production in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Like Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice’s first collaboration, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the story of Jesus Christ Superstar is told entirely through songs such as Gethsemane and the title track, with no spoken dialogue at all.
It also set a musical standard for some of Lloyd Webber’s other work says Mark Newport, musical director for this new production in Potters Bar.
He has worked in the West End on productions of Lloyd Webber musicals, including Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard.
That experience of working on some of Lloyd Webber’s later musicals means he can see the influence Jesus Christ Superstar had on the music and rhythm of his other work.
Lloyd Webber’s distinctive style is integral to the show’s success, but there have been enough revivals of the show that director Simon Carnell believes fans of the musical often look for something new in each production.
The show is too often associated with the 1970s film, so he has created a production which isn’t tied to any era, to give it a more universal appeal.
Carnell has done away with elaborate sets and props and stripped the production down to a very simple but striking set.
The music moves on so quickly that he believes scenery changes would just slow down the show. He also has the whole cast of nearly 60 on the stage throughout the entire performance.
The result is a bold, fast paced and striking production. You can see for yourself when Jesus Christ Superstar plays at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar from October 18-22.
For more information or tickets visit www.elods.org.uk or call 07770 871140.
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