Two Filipinos in cast of Jesus Christ Superstar
By Ted Alcuitas
The iconic musical Jesus Christ Superstar will have two Filipinos in the cast – Caleb Lagayan and Jennifer Suratos who plays Pontius Pilate.
URP began as a small community theatre company in 1995 with its first staging of Jesus Christ Superstar. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been entertained by URP’s 23 different productions, which The Georgia Straight has called “jaw-droppingly slick.”
Event: URP Presents Jesus Christ Superstar
Dates: Tuesday, October 31 through Sunday, November 5, 2017 Time: 8 pm
Preview: Tuesday, October 31 @ 8pm / Opening: Wednesday, November 1 @ 8pm
Matinee: Tuesday, November 4, 2017 @ 2pm
Venue: Centennial Theatre (2300 Lonsdale Ave. in North Vancouver)
Admission: Adults $44 / Students & Seniors $36 / Children 3 to 12 $28. Children must be three or over to attend.
October 31 preview all tickets $28
Tickets: On Sale Now here
Jenn is an avid singer and performer, and has worked with many local companies including Gateway Theatre, Pacific Theatre, TUTS, and Applause. Recent favorites include Miss Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Fighting Chance Productions), Miss Sherman in Fame (Bring on Tomorrow Collective), Franny in Little Miss Glitz (Too Fly), and Sarah in Company (United Players). She is thrilled to be in this version of Jesus Christ Superstar, having appeared in URP’s 10th anniversary production in 2004. Jenn currently sits on the board for Delinquent Theatre and FCP’s Artistic Advisory Committee. Upcoming: Paulette in Legally Blond (Align Entertainment) and directing Guys and Dolls next summer (FCP).
Caleb is thrilled to be making his debut with URP as Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar. Currently in his final year at Capilano University for Musical Theatre, Caleb’s select credits include Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden (Arbutus Studio), George Gershwin/Ensemble in Thoroughly Modern Millie (TUTS), Indio in West Side Story (TUTS), and most recently Allan/Ensemble in Mary Poppins (TUTS). Caleb would like to thank Richard Berg and the creative team for this opportunity. Sending love to his parents, friends, and most of all God for continuing to keep the fire burning. “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”
Since the 1970 now-classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar was launched on an unsuspecting world there have been dozens of stage productions, concert performances, and film and television adaptations, including a Heavy Metal version in Chile. URP is excited to present yet another unique look at this iconic musical, October 31 through November 5 at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre in which Judas, Pilate and Herod are all played by women.
“We have cast a small ensemble of 14,” explained URP producer / director Richard Berg. “Typically the cast is much larger than that. We have also approached the casting in a non-traditional manner. We held open auditions and cast the strongest actor/singers we could for each role, regardless of gender.”
“The result is that while Jesus and Mary are traditionally cast, many of the traditionally male roles are being played by female actors. We are not trying to make any big political statement or anything like that. We simply want to tell the story in an exciting and entertaining way with the best performers we could get.”
While URP has presented Jesus Christ Superstar in the past, in 1995 and 2004, this production will be all new, featuring innovative design concepts and a five-piece band to accompany the 14 singers in the cast.
“We are really highlighting the ‘rock’ part of ‘rock opera’,” concludes Berg. “The audience can expect a liberal sprinkling of rock concert spectacle on top of the drama of the story.”
Don’t miss this exciting trip back to a rock culture phenomenon, with a contemporary casting twist.
ABOUT THE SHOW: Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its Broadway debut in 1971. The musical is sung-through, with no spoken dialogue. The story is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. It depicts political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus that are not present in the Bible.
The work’s depiction offers a free interpretation of the psychology of Jesus and the other characters. A large part of the plot focuses on the character of Judas, who is depicted as a tragic figure dissatisfied with the direction in which Jesus steers his disciples. Contemporary attitudes, sensibilities, and slang of the 1970s, pervade the lyrics, and ironic allusions to modern life at the time are scattered throughout the show. Stage and film productions accordingly contain many intentional anachronisms.
The show was condemned by some religious groups. Tim Rice was quoted as saying: “It happens that we don’t see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place.” Some Christians considered the show to be blasphemous, the character of Judas too sympathetic, and some of his criticisms of Jesus offensive. At the same time, some Jews claimed that it bolstered the anti-Semitic belief that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death by showing most of the villains as Jewish and showing the crowd in Jerusalem calling for the crucifixion. The musical was banned in South Africa for being “irreligious” and a 1972 production of the play was banned in the Hungarian People’s Republic for “distribution of religious propaganda.”