‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Chanhassen is a thought-provoking Lenten musical

| March 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

The talented cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres brings to life the last days of Jesus and his disciples. The choreography places the actors amidst the dinners, making them feel close to the production of this timeless tale. Chanhassen Dinner Theaters photo

When “Jesus Christ Super­star” open­ed on Broadway in 1971, I recall that many critics attacked the contemporary rock musical, written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Web­ber, as sacrilegious.

As songs like “Superstar,” “Every­thing’s Alright” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” played on the radio and in our minds, the rock opera garnered five Tony nominations, toured across the nation and in London, was turned into a movie and reworked for the stage to tour again.

Yet, the first time I saw this classic musical was the Feb. 18 Chanhassen Dinner Theatres performance of the last seven days in Jesus’ life on earth. That night changed any preconceived no­tions I had about “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

While the stage set with stone and metal takes you back 2,000 years, the layered costumes and swirling scarves pull you into a discordant present and future, visually and musically.

An emotional ride

From the opening “Heaven On Their Minds” by Jared Oxborough as Judas, to Ben Bakken as Jesus raging in “The Temple” to Michelle Carter as Mary Magdalene singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” the audience is tossed from one emotion to another. That is just in the first act!

During the second act, the turmoil continues from the scene of the Last Supper, to Peter’s denial of Christ to the death of Judas and the culminating cru­cifixion.

I walked out of the theater im­pressed, disturbed, saddened and talking all the way home about the marvelous voices, acting and wonderful food and hospitality.

If you are looking for a meaningful, yet enjoyable Lenten activity with family and friends who are 8 years old and more, think about seeing “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Chan­has­sen Dinner Theatres. You, too, may experience the last days of Christ in a new light.

Throughout March, cast members will be collecting monetary donations after the performances to benefit Minnesota FoodShare and its food shelves across the state.

Performances continue through July 30, Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Wed­nes­days and Sat­urdays. Cost for dinner and the show is: from $59 to $77, depending on the day and time. Call (952) 934-1525 or 800-362-3515 or visit http://www.ChanhassenDT.com.

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Category: Arts and Culture