Arts and Culture Editor
“Jesus Christ Superstar” is playing at Clair Hall in the Winter Center from November 8ththrough 10th. With a massive cast made up of current students and alumni members, a strong creative team and a booming live band, this is a MU theatre event audiences will not want to miss.
One student making his University Theatre debut is Josh Marzak who is playing the pivotal role of Judas in this rock opera. This is also Marzak’s first musical, and he says that “This has been a learning experience, but I am looking forward to where this production is going.” The characters are biblical in this piece and the actor has even learned much about his own faith by stepping into the shoes of Judas. The rehearsal process is never easy for any show, but Marzak describes this particular one as a “Beautiful puzzle being put together.” While not always the most glamorous process by any means, it is always satisfying to see the various elements of a show coming together. As the production nears opening night, Marzak is excited for audiences to see “the level of talent” that will surely be on display.
Jeff Cartwright, Suzanne Harris, Noah Sundberg and Sylvia Garner have found a particularly strong sense of ensemble playing the four priests in this production. It is important to feel a sense of ensemble in any show, and this group has had a complete blast playing the more villainous characters. This role is particularly interesting for Cartwright who actually is an ordained priest himself. Cartwright was around for the musical’s original broadway run, and is excited for audiences to experience this musical again. All actors have enjoyed seeing the show come together and even little moments as Sundberg notes like “Seeing the actors doing the clapping on time” is particularly exciting. It is wonderful to see actors with such strong chemistry and respect for each other, it is clearly evident with this particular group.
Being in a musical is also a place where great bonding and growth can occur. This is exactly what happened with a freshman named Morgan Higgins. She had done theatre in high school, but being in this production has been a completely different experience for her. Higgins says that “It has been very helpful having so many people around to befriend”. Finding friends and a sense of family is important in any cast, and she says that “I feel a lot more at home on this campus because I was in this show.” Theatre is art, but it also has the ability to bring a sense of community as in the case of Higgins and certainly many others.
Last, but certainly not least, Millersville alumni member, Alex Weaver is taking on the titular role of Jesus Christ. Weaver has been bringing his incredible “vocal technique” to this marathon of a role. He is excited for “audiences to see the full show come together”. This is a musical everyone knows and loves, but University Theatre’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” promises to bring a fresh energy to this classic rock musical. The cast has worked extremely hard to put this piece together and the next step now is for audiences to come in and this production promises to be one that they will not get enough of.