Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jesus Christ Superstar

My husband and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar the other night at the new Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. First, we were extremely impressed with the Centre! The people were outstanding and very helpful. They were all so nice, and were obviously very proud of the Center.

They had good reason to be proud of the Centre! It is gorgeous. Very modern, well designed and certainly a wonderful place to see a play. The seats weren't the most comfortable but not so uncomfortable that it detracted from the play or the experience.

The play was... well, it was... hmmm. It's hard to describe. I had a bit of a hard time with it partially because I saw it when Ted Neely, who plays Jesus, did it in the early 70's. He's a bit older now, but I'd say his voice was just as powerful. I actually came home and pulled up the old songs to compare. It was hard to see the older Neely without realizing how much we'd both aged!

Part of the experience of seeing JC back in the 70's was the times. The play was controversial. It "fit" with all the questioning and the self-discovery that the generation was muddling through. There was a slight (or major) aura of rebellion involved with going to see JC Superstar way back when. I saw it in a mainstream church once, which in itself was rather a shocker way back when.

In today's world, there's nothing the least bit shocking about JC Superstar. The play stood on its own merits. Compared to Les Miserable, Phantom of the Opera and other outstanding theatre, JC doesn't stack up. But that doesn't make it bad.
There are powerful singers, the acting is good and the songs are still catchy. It's very thought provoking, also.

I'd go see it again. In fact, I'd like to go see it again. I walked in to the theater holding onto yesterday's glowing memories that were intertwined with my younger dreams and rebellion. Now that I'm through comparing it to the quasi-reality my memory created over the years, I'd like to see it through today's eyes.

A few more brief thoughts... Loved Herod! Didn't particularly care for Judas (Corey Glover), his songs were a bit too brash and loud.
However, I will say that I spent a lot of time comparing today's version with yesterday. I'm not so sure I am able to give it a fair critique. When I went to the ladies room during intermission I polled all the women in line. Every single one said they really liked it. Not one negative, although when I said something about comparing it to days of old (the 70's ;-) a few seemed to be having the same time warp problem as I.

I made the mistake of carrying binoculars. Don't. It's better not to be able to see the flaws of the actors up close --- it takes away from the mystique. After all, a play is more about invoking your imagination that it is about painting an exact picture.

Unfortunately, today was your last chance to see JC at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Keep an eye out for it again, though. My husband, who saw it for the first time, rather liked it. He didn't rave about it, but he did enjoy the play and I think I'd be able to drag him to see it again.

Thinking about it a bit, this might be a great play to see with some of your old 70's friends! Get a group together, pull out some old bell-bottoms or whatever we were wearing back then, and have some fun!
Credit for Photos: © 2006, JOAN MARCUS
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