Review: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Theatre Lab

The story of Jesus Christ and his Apostles is a tale as old as time, all having different meanings to each religion.

The story of Jesus Christ and his Apostles is a tale as old as time, all having different meanings to each religion. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tackle the relationship between Jesus and Judas in their rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, this weekend performed by the incredible cast at Theatre Lab in Washington DC.

Theatre Lab’s Summer Musical Theatre Institute is a 3.5-week intensive program where the students tackle a musical. I would assume with the professionalism of the production that these students have been rehearsing for months.

The set, designed by Angelo Merenda, was minimal, allowing the audience to focus on the acting. It enhanced the production by allowing the audience to be seated on three sides having the stage be raised platforms and ramps in the middle. The band made up of Buzz Mauro, Cheryl Branham, Brad Emmett, Christopher Brown, and Manny Archiniega were incredible, really enhancing the performance. At times, though, the balance between the band and the microphones of the actors were off making it hard to hear everything going on stage.

Jack Posey (Judas) and Ben Cherington (Jesus) in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ Photo by Ryan Maxwell.
Jack Posey (Judas) and Ben Cherington (Jesus) in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

The title role of Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected by the phenomenal Ben Cherington. Bringing the suffering and betrayal of Jesus to the audience’s eyes in “Gethsemane” and “Crucifixion,” Cherington completely embodied the role as well as putting his own spin on this iconic character.

Jack Posey’s Judas Iscariot brought vulnerability to a well-known villain, as well as blowing the audience out of the water with his vocals in “Damned for All Time/Blood Money” as well as the opening, “Heaven On Their Minds.” The chemistry between Cherington and Posey was strong throughout the entire show, starting during a dance in the overture that was a give and take between them.

Joey Schulman (Mary Magdalene0 and Ben Cherington (Jesus). Photo by Ryan Maxwell.
Joey Schulman (Mary Magdalene) and Ben Cherington (Jesus). Photo by Ryan Maxwell.

One of the most showstopping performances was Joey Schulman as Mary Magdalene. She gave a jaw dropping during each of her numbers, “Everything’s Alright” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” to name a few. Schulman’s admiration towards Jesus was innocent, sweet and all together loving as she would tend over him.

Other standouts include Chad Vann’s Caiaphas, with his enchanting bass vocals, Annlouise Conrad as the passionate Annas, Aidan White’s flamboyant King Herod in his hilarious number, “King Herod’s Song,” and Zeke Albro as the confused Peter.

Bravo to the talented cast of Theatre Lab’s Jesus Christ Superstar for bringing the audience back to biblical times in an unexpected, rocking way!

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Jesus Christ Superstar plays this weekend: January 21-23, 2016. The production is sold out. While this production is sold out for the remainder of the run, it is one you do not want to miss.

LINKS:
Theatre Lab Students Ben Cherington and Jack Posey Take ‘Superstar’ Turn in Summer Teen Institute Production This Weekend by Deb Gottesman.

All performances of Jesus Christ Superstar are sold out. There will be limited standing room available first come, first served, once the box office opens at 6:45.

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Join Theatre Lab next month for Carousel from Thursday – Saturday August 18-20, 7:30 pm; August 20, 2:00 pm.

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See columbinus on Friday, August 19th.

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1 COMMENT

  1. What an amazing theater!! To the entire cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar” break a leg!!!

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