Preview of production of JCS coming to Akron Civic Theatre
words by Ted Zep, photos by Chad Cochran
This month, Akron Civic Theatre will proudly present the seventh annual All-City Musical production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Running June 15 and 16, the show is presented with the support of the Civic’s Women’s Guild, as well as by additional funding from The Robert O. & Annamae Orr Family Foundation.
The cast and orchestra will be composed of students from 23 local schools. Some institutions represented are Kenmore-Garfield High School, Barberton High School, St. Vincent/St. Mary High School, Walsh Jesuit High School, Springfield High School, Firestone High School and many more.
The production will feature two new members to the crew of the Civic. Joining the returning Brian Murphy (choreographer), Gary Davis (maestro) and Irene Mack-Shaefer (costume designer) will be Connor Bogart O’Brien (director) and Sharon Dobbins Alberson (musical director).
“The Civic is proud to be presenting our seventh annual All-City Musical. The program has grown leaps and bounds since its inception. We are excited to welcome our new creative staff and all of our new, and returning, students to the program. We strive to give them the experience of performing on the big stage, and to connect with other students that also share a passion for the arts in our community,” said Valerie Renner, associate director of programming for the theatre. “Audiences will be totally blown away by what they are going to experience with this musical.”
Debuting on Broadway in 1971, the work features the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the lyrics of Tim Rice. The story follows the final week of Jesus Christ’s life, as predominantly viewed through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. The score is chock full of memorable numbers like “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.”
Jesus Christ Superstar is on the shortlist of the most iconic musicals of the 20th Century.
“Andrew Lloyd Webber somehow seamlessly combined the most famous story of the last 2,000 years with rock & roll and opera—no easy feat,” said Chris Parsons, a stage director and actor from Athens, OH. “Jesus Christ Superstar has a broad appeal because it was written to have a broad appeal. Non-theater goers appreciate the music, while theater connoisseurs appreciate the musical genius of the score. Like Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar somehow appeals to religious and secular patrons equally.”