Classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has always sparked debate over its interpretation of the gospels, and the latest Phoenix Ensemble production is set to cause an even greater stir when it opens at Beenleigh’s Pavilion Theatre on 24 October.
Traditionally, the musical is loosely based on the gospels’ account of the last week of Jesus’ life, highlighting political and personal struggles that are not in accepted biblical narratives.
Director Morgan Garrity, who last year brought us Phoenix Ensemble’s production of Reefer Madness, is going one step further by delivering an original version based on the Gospel of Barnabas – itself a controversial and much-debated text.
‘This gospel is largely untold in general, and only recently available to the wider public,’ Morgan says.
‘Is it controversial? Yes, definitely, but I’m hoping people will appreciate the fresh take on the old classic.’
The classic 1970 rock opera features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, and much-loved songs including the title track, ‘Everything’s Alright’ and ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’.
For Morgan, the enduring appeal of Jesus Christ Superstar is its great music and its potential for broader interpretation such as her production.
She said her 17-strong cast was fully committed to the production’s non-traditional approach.
‘I haven’t seen this level of joy in a cast for a long time. The cohesion among the group is outstanding which of course makes for an amazing on-stage presence.
‘Audiences can expect a very edgy, high energy show with some major twists.’
Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James Street, Beenleigh
7.30pm: 24, 25, 31 October, 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22.
Tickets: $26 adult; $24 concession
Jesus - Adam Bartlett
Judas - Frog Johnson
Mary - Ashley Jarman
Pilate - Michael Skelton
Ciaphis - Doug Rumble
Annas - Carly Quinn
Peta (Peter) - Tyjana Wormleaton
Simon - Lachlan Dalby
Herod - Eva Bartlett
John - Darcy Morris
Jane (James) - Kate Davis
Drew (Andrew) - Ranni McQuade
Phillipa (Phillip) - Aliyah Booth
Thomas - Simon Ah-Him
Mattea (Matthew) - Sabrina Mariott
Jane (James the less) - Nicola Crawford
Barnabas - Pete Keavy