jesus christ superstar kaleidescope july 6

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  • 8/4/2019 Jesus Christ Superstar Kaleidescope July 6

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    Inside: B2, Coe family headstones, flagI B3, GatheringsI B5, Veterans VoiceI B10, Neighbors

    To no discredit of the last 20 soproductions Ive had the pleasure ofphotographing in town, JesusChrist Superstar is above and be-yond anything else Ive seen comeout of Hood River.

    For such a small town, the Centerfor the Arts regularly puts on someexcellent productions, so I recom-mend watching as many as youcan. But if you only go to one showthis year, or ever, this is t he one towatch.

    Adam Lapierre

    Columbia Center for the Artspresents one of the most popularrock operas of all times, JesusChrist Superstar.

    The show will open July 8 withperformances continuing on July9, 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and amatinee on July 10 at 2 p.m.

    It seems especially fitting thatthe first rock opera, created as aconcept album at the end of the

    turbulent '60s, should have at itscenter a social and political rebel.Jesus meteor-like rise in renownprovides, as the title suggests, aparallel to contemporary celebrityworship.

    As his radical teachings areevermore embraced, Judas in-creasingly questions the enlight-ened motives of this new prophet,resulting in betrayal. Christs finaldays are dramatized with emotion-

    al intensity, thought-provokingedge and explosive theatricality.Propelled by a stirring score, byturns driving and majestic, satiri-cal and tender, Jesus Christ Super-star illuminates the transcendentpower of the human spirit with apassion that goes straight to theheart.

    Director Mark Steighner has lednumerous productions in his 30-plus years in Hood River, and thisproduction is one of the best, mostpowerful of his career. Here areSteighners directors notes on theproject:

    Superstar has all the charac-teristics of a great summer show:high energy and name recognition,it includes a lot of people, but it

    doesnt require complex sets oroverly-elaborate costumes. Addi-tionally, it is one of the genuinelyiconic and groundbreaking piecesof musical theater, in that the origi-nal used actual rock music androck musicians in the pit and on-stage.

    The show is also authenticallyaudacious, at least for its time. Thelate 60s zeitgeist was challengeauthority, and what greater au-thority to tweak ones nose at butthe Church?

    Forty years later, however, one re-alizes that in light of todays SouthPark-Family Guy comic sensibility,where irreverence toward every-thing makes the idea irrelevant, Su-perstar is downright respectable interms of its content and point ofview. Sure, it tells the story fromJudas viewpoint, and it stops shortof the resurrection but thenagain, so does the supposedly piousPassion of the Christ. And rockmusic is our lingua franca and is as

    common in Christian praise teamsas everywhere else.

    What I really like about themusic is that the writers wereyoung and obviously heavily influ-enced by the Beatles more experi-

    mental sounds as well as some ofthe more avant garde composers ofthe time. The ending is straight outof Ligetis tone clusters.

    Whats also really interesting isthat, at the same time as Superstar,American Stephen Sondheim wasstarting to come into his own, withshows like Follies and Companycreating a very dry, ironic, intellec-tual, and detached view of humannature and theater.

    JCS at CASTThis is a big show for CAST 23

    actors. But Superstar could easilybenefit from twice as many. The re-sultand the challengeis thateveryone in the ensemble playsmultiple roles. So, someone willhave to be one of Jesus ardent fol-

    lowers in one scene and a Romanguard in the next. It keeps everyoneon their toes: literally, becauseeveryone dances at some point.Without the ideas and creativity ofcostumer Julie Raefield-Gobbo andlighting designer Mark Dane, noneof it would work.

    So, shoehorning 23 energetic ac-tors into the small space is definite-ly a logistic issue, but on the otherhand, the musical benefits fromsimplicity, abstraction, and espe-cially the intimacy and connectionwith the audience that the CASTtheatre encourages.

    The cast:The cast is a mixture of theater

    veterans and a few newcomers aswell. Many of the cast members Ky Fifer (Judas), Tiger BrookeFifer, Austin Wilson (Jesus), DustinRose (Simon) were in the CASTproduction of Hair back in 2002. Wehave some amazing voices in theshow and many of the leads (andsome of the band musicians) havetrekked from Portland severaltimes a week in order to be part ofthe musical. We also range fromfreshmen in high school throughslightly more mature actors.

    With more than 40 musicals tocompare it against, I would say thatthe cast of Superstar is one of themost energized, supportive and gen-erally enjoyable groups Ive everworked with. Theyre awesome.

    What were trying to do is createan experience that respects theideas and beliefs of both believers

    and non-believers. Ultimately, theshow is about Judas and Jesus(and by extension, all of our)human doubts and fears and con-flicts.

    Is the musical an allegory aboutthe way our culture distorts beliefand how fame and power seduce?Yes.

    Is it about politics? Yes.Is it about a power-relationship

    triangle between three people? Yes,that too.

    Divorced from its strictly reli-gious context (if that is possible)the story remains powerful and af-fecting because it touches sodeeply that which is frightening,fragile, and fierce within us.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011 B1

    Jesus ChristJesus Christ

    Su

    perstarSuperstarColumbia Center for the A

    DETAILS,DETAILSI Show opens: July 8 and continues on July 9, 14, 15 and 16, all at

    7:30 p.m.A matinee is also scheduled for July 10 at 2 p.m.I Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors (62+), $8 for chil-dren 11 and under.Tickets are on sale at Columbia Art Gallery and Wauco-

    ma Bookstore in Hood River and online at www.columbiaarts.org.I Cast and crew (including pictures on this page): Jesus: AustinWilson; Judas: Ky Fifer; Pilate: William Thayer-Dougherty; Mary: JannickeSletmoe; Herod: Luke MacMillan; Caiaphas: Chip Wood; Annas: Eric Slet-

    moe; Simon: Dustin Rose; Peter: Daniel Woodrich; Ensemble:Andrea Rose,Lisa Spika, John Lockmann, Rosemary Shepardson,Tylee Laurance, Tiger

    Brooke Fifer, Emily Vawter, Liz Hartmann, Erika Winner, David Dye, RichardParker and Theresa Kappel; Lights: Mark Dane; Sound: Ken Woodrich; Band:

    Jerry Keith, Henry Kapp, Randy Bell, Alex Arrowsmith; Costumes: JulieRaefield-Gobbo; Director: Mark Steighner

    Photos by ADAM LAPIERRE