Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Know This Was Mentioned Before, But...

...I have to say, Ted Neeley is still totally rocking it as Jesus on the Jesus Christ Superstar national tour.

True, he's technically too old for the part - twice the age that Jesus actually was when he died - and his age shows in his voice & appearance, but he can still hit those high notes like no one else.

That said, even though he's the main attraction when the show is advertised, the cast of this tour is amazing. I've seen my fair share of touring productions, & this is probably the best I've seen, rivaled only by when Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal came through on the Rent tour last spring. The catch is a few of them are making their national debuts on this tour, a fact I simply couldn't believe. No way were people this talented & entertaining to watch so new. But it's true. And naturally, the veterans are fantastic as well.

This cast is seriously superb, so if you've ever considering catching this show live, just do it. We made it a family affair - my parents, brother, aunt, uncle, & two of my cousins, & even though it was over a week ago now me, my brother, & at least one cousin can't stop talking about it. We were collectively blown away, & my brother & I have seen this on stage before, so that's saying something.

I'd have to say that Benjamin Van Diepen as Pilate, in a relatively small role, considering, was one of the stand-out performers. The intensity he put into the role was obvious. Same with John Twiford as Judas - he actually managed to do something a little different with the role, which isn't easy considering how many times it's been done & how well-known the whole story is. What stands out the most is that during Judas' death scene, Twiford was screaming his lines as if you were actually watching Judas just completely lose his mind. And it was fantastic.

I've never seen a show move an audience like this. All the ladies in my group cried, & initially at the end the entire theater was silent. When the applause did start, people were jumping out of their seats for a standing ovation within seconds. It's an experience my cousins summed up well, respectively: one said she felt emotionally drained, the other said Ted Neeley should've crowd surfed at the end. There you go.

Well, that & the exchange I overheard between a man & who I assume to be his granddaughter. He said to her, "They call this the greatest story ever told. They've been telling it for 2000 years."

Plus other Andrew Lloyd Webber-related news isn't so great. Apparently, Love Never Dies butchers everything sacred about The Phantom of the Opera (which is also rolling through Pittsburgh this summer). Might as well cling to the classics while we've got 'em.

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