ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 26, 2017) — Ordway Center for the Performing Arts presents a new Ordway Original production of Jesus Christ Superstar, directed and choreographed by Ordway Artistic Director James A. Rocco, and on stage July 18-30. Tickets start at $37 and can be purchased online at www.ordway.org, by phone at 651-224-4222 or in person at the Ordway ticket office.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary rock opera brings to life an interpretation of Christ’s final days as a social and political rebel as seen through the eyes of Judas, who eventually betrays him. Dramatized with emotional intensity, thought-provoking edge and explosive theatricality, Jesus Christ Superstar is propelled by a stirring score and illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit with a passion that goes straight to the heart.
Jesse Nager will play the starring role of Jesus of Nazareth. The cast features Randy Schmeling as Judas Iscariot, Lauren Villegas as Mary Magdalene, Dieter Bierbrauer as Pontius Pilate, Erin Schwab as King Herod, Terance Reddick as Simon, Rudolph Searles III as Peter, John Brink as Annas, and James Ramlet as Calaphas. They will be supported by a talented ensemble: Lisa Bartholomew-Given, Rush Benson, Tommy Benson, Stephanie Bertumen, Caitlyn Carroll, Julius Collins, Mario Esteb, Timmy Hays, Ayden Ntsaag Ab Her, Joseph Hitchcock, Patrick Carles Jeffrey, Kayla Jenerson, Gavihn Lee, Brad Madison, Louise Madison, Lauren Masiello, Cameron Meilicke, Adam Moen, Wesley Mouri, Kym Chambers Otto, Jorge Quintero, Kersten Rodau, Seth Russell, Josephine Turk, Mabel Weismann, Huxley Westemeier, Valerie Wick and Leah Zahner.
Rocco’s creative team includes Paul Whitaker (scenic and lighting design), Andy Horka/Big Air Productions, Inc. (sound design), MaryBeth Gagner and Jeffrey Meek (costume design), Abbee Warmboe (props coordinator), Robert A. Dunn (hair and make-up design), Reid Harmsen (casting) and Flying by Foy. Musical direction is by Andrew Bourgoin.
Rocco has directed the rock musical several times and also played Judas in numerous productions around the country. Rocco said he’s excited to bring a fresh lens to this new Ordway Original production. “When Jesus Christ Superstar first appeared it was considered radical, rebellious and edgy. It surprised and shocked audiences because it pushed the musical theater envelope and explored new territories. I encourage each team to make new artistic discoveries while honoring this groundbreaking musical. There are so many opportunities for the show to inspire conversations that allows us to be more present and awake to the world we live in,” he explained.
Consistent with the Ordway's tradition of inclusive and nontraditional casting, the characters, including Jesus portrayed by an African American and Herod by a woman, reflect intentional choices that are aimed at connecting historical epochs, then and now. The issues and questions raised by nontraditional casting - including the present-day significance of a Black Jesus and a gender non-conforming Herod - will be the subject of Ordway Extras on July 19 and July 26, post-show conversations, and other community-based activities.
Jesus Christ Superstar was an acclaimed 1970 rock opera that started as a concept album before its 1971 Broadway debut, which was then developed as a film and released in 1973. It was nominated for several Tony Awards and earned a 1972 Drama Desk Award for Andrew Lloyd Webber as “Most Promising Composer” and a Theatre World Award for Ben Vereen as Judas. It continues to receive nominations and awards, including a 2017 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival for a West End production in London.
Jesus Christ Superstar is part of the Ordway’s 2017-18 Musical Theater Series, sponsored by Bremer Bank. Generous support for Ordway Originals is provided by Marcia L. Morris. For tickets and more information, visit www.ordway.org.
ABOUT THE ORDWAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway’s Music Theater and Concert Hall attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also sponsors the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a charter high school with a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists. Together with the Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances. For more information, visit www.ordway.org.
Jesus Christ Superstar
July 18-30, 2017
Tuesday, July 18-Wednesday, July 19
Thursday, July 20-Sunday, July 23
Tuesday, July 25-Sunday, July 30
Saturday, July 22-Sunday, July 23
Saturday, July 29-Sunday, July 30
Thursday, April 20, 7:30 p.m. (Open Captioned)
Saturday, April 22, 2:00 p.m. (ASL/AD)
Pre- and Post-Show Events:
Wednesday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Post-show Talk-Back with company members
Wednesday, July 26 after the 7:30 p.m. performance
Theater Venue & Location:
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
Ticket Office: 651-224-4222
Starting at $37, subject to change
Artwork for download: