JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

JSU Drama and Music Depts. Present "Jesus Christ Superstar"

February 13, 2003 -- "Jesus Christ Superstar," the rock opera, will be performed at Jacksonville State University in a joint production of the departments of drama and music.

The musical will be staged at the Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center Theatre. Show times are February 20, 21, 22 at 7:00 p.m. and February 23 at 2:00 p.m.; February 27, 28, March 1 at 7:00 p.m., and again on March 2 at 2:00 p.m.

There is a charge for admission and reservations are strongly encouraged. They can be made by calling 256-782-5648.

The production by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice originally opened in London in 1969 and premiered in New York in 1971. In spite of opposition from various religious groups who did not want to see such a human portrayal of Jesus, the production was a huge box office hit and ran for 720 performances followed by the release of the film version in 1973.

Carlton Ward, the head of JSU's drama department, said that "Superstar" refers to the military power and might people expected Jesus to exercise on their behalf. Peaceful reform was not what most of his followers hoped for. Instead, they wanted a military leader to solve their social and political problems by force.

Ward describes the character of Judas as "aggressive," "a very somber, a very provoking disciple." Jesus, Ward says, is portrayed as "compassionate, caring," "a human man who can be hurt" and who seeks "peace rather than war," which, according to Ward, eventually brings about his crucifixion. Ward stated that the production is a very strong and significant musical.

The opera originated in two songs released by Andrew Lloyd Webber, then a music teacher in London. "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "I Don't Know How To Love Him" were the two singles that later became a full scale musical with lyrics by Tim Rice.

Webber has written several very successful musicals during his career including: "A Star Is Born," "Cats," "Evita," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."


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