Lyric Theatre presents ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

By Luke Sulsenti
Correspondent 

Characters in the show tell the story of Christ in a new way (Photos courtesy of  Zé Castle Photography).

TCNJ Lyric Theatre retold the story of Jesus Christ through a modern wave of conceptualization and symbolism. 

Originally composed by long-time broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Jesus Christ Superstar” shone bright from Friday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 10, on the Kendall Hall Main Stage.

Throughout history, the story of the Gospel has existed and thrived for generations. However, never before has it exploded in a triumphant symphony of a rock opera.

The musical uses the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ final days as the basis for the story, which chronicles the anticipation for his arrival in Jerusalem up until his crucifixion. 

The mature production featured dramatic themes, religious contexts, violence and implied suicide. The musical’s set took place in an artistically ambiguous Jerusalem. The show’s style called for a much more artistic and open interpretation of the accounts of the Gospel, and TCNJ Lyric Theatre took advantage of the opportunity through the color, makeup and lighting on the stage. 

The production also featured a double cast system, with titular roles being passed with each performance. The decision allowed TCNJ Lyric Theatre to incorporate as much talent as possible and provide a fresh, engaging performance each night. 

Each night, the audience left Kendall Hall pleased with TCNJ Lyric Theatre’s presentation of the musical. 

“It was a great performance,” said Megan Frederick, a junior psychology major. 

Musical theatre has grown on campus, and it is evident that both audience members and students involved would like to see more. The College has recently considered adding a theatre minor in response to the growing popularity of not only Lyric Theatre, but also student organizations All College Theatre and TCNJ Musical Theatre as well. 

“There’s always so much theatre. This weekend, we’ve had three different performances go on simeotaneously,” said Andrew Sosidka, a producer for TMT’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” “I’m surprised we don’t have one yet.”

Junior psychology major Lauren Petite was ecstatic to portray Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ betrayer, a role that she had looked forward to playing. 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to play a dream role of mine, and I loved every minute of the experience,” she said. 

As a longtime fan of theater, Petite joined the organization last year after her friend recommended it. 

“Being in Lyric Theatre has been a wonderful experience for me, and this show has been no different,” Petite said. 

Senior communication studies major Casey Hendrickson also participated in the cast, as well as acting as the organization’s publicist for an independent study. 

“Doing the marketing and acting in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ has been so rewarding,” Hendrickson said. “By being involved in multiple aspects of the production, I feel like I did a better job at marketing, because by being in the cast, I had a full understanding of the show and its purpose.”

After watching the College’s production, Frederick found the show to be interesting, regardless of any person’s religious affiliation. 

“It’s engaging for any kind of audience member, religious or not,” Frederick said. 

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