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‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ shaping up to be a success

Rehearsals have already commenced for The Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s upcoming production ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, and from the way my body and throat ache after half a dozen rehearsals (I’m playing the disciple Andrew), this one promises to be a smashing success.

Whilst being somewhat short on time with opening night being less than a month away, rehearsals have been conducted intensely, albeit efficiently, therefore the majority of the show has already been choreographed and the entire musical score done and dusted. This is a feat in itself as the show consists of ninety minutes of nonstop complex musical numbers and fast-paced choreography.

The consistent nightly, three-hour rehearsals sure take their toll on the entire cast, especially the leads. Bermuda Sun journalist Gary Skelton is knocking out his role and proving he is

the perfect casting of Jesus Christ. All credit is due to director John Payton who has done an amazing job casting the entire show, and everyone is excelling in their roles thus far.

The play itself centres around Jesus Christ and his followers through the last week of Jesus’ life. At heart it illustrates the dispute between Judas Iscariot (Steven Notman) and Jesus, and in essence entails the falling apart of Jesus’ apostles. One of the few to stick by his side through all of the chaos and upheaval is Mary Magdalene (Jen Osmond), who plays a crucial role in the entire story as Jesus’ caregiver and primary support.

Those who are familiar with the show will know the musical score backwards and forwards, as this is not a show one can simply stop listening to. Those who have not been exposed to the score may be familiar with the song ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him,’ made famous in 1971 with Helen Reddy’s version peaking at #13 on the Top 40 Chart, a very impressive feat.

There are seven school-aged cast members, with the youngest being Warwick Academy’s Year 3 student Rhianne Nester. Keiran Hamilton, Izabella Arnold, Emma Keane and I are also from Warwick Academy, whilst Katie Witkowski is from Saltus and Katie Ewles is from BHS.

“I love being part of a Gilbert and Sullivan production again. The quality of direction and the whole show is just a fantastic experience,” said Izabella Arnold, who last appeared in the G&S production of

Animal Farm.

Having not worked with either John or musical director Philip Shute before, I was somewhat curious as to how they would maintain the excellent standard G&S has built up in the past few years with their recent productions of

Animal Farm,

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and

The History Boys. It needn’t have even crossed my mind. Both John and Philip are well versed in their art forms, John having toured with a professional troupe performing

Jesus Christ Superstar in the past. Philip, who has worked at the Liverpool Centre for Performing Arts, ably conducts the entire cast, and the sound he gets out of us is simply spine-tingling.

Set designer Cleo Pettithas returned to build another stunning environment for this production. Just a handful of her astonishing builds include

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,

The History Boys,

The Full Monty and

Oliver. All have been fitted for costumes already and competent Costume Designer Liz Campbell promises to create some gorgeous attire. So all can be confident the show is well on track and is sure to be a knockout hit, showcasing the talent and theatrical prowess Gilbert & Sullivan is famous for.

The run begins the October 6 and closing night is the 15th. No show October 10. Be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible as this promises to be the best Gilbert & Sullivan has to offer!

Tickets, $55, are on sale from September 12 through www.gands.bm or www.premiertickets.bm.

Super stars: Young cast members fill supporting roles in the up-coming Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Back row, from left to right: Matthew Wedlich and Keiran Hamilton; front row: Izabella Arnold, Emma Keane and Katie Witkowski.

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Published September 15, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 15, 2011 at 9:03 am)

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ shaping up to be a success

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