First Look At Lyric Opera’s “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR”
The North American premiere of Timothy Sheader’s explosive Olivier Award-winning production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar opens this month at Lyric and includes artists Heath Saunders as Jesus, Ryan Shaw as Judas, and Jo Lampert as Mary Magdalene. Lyric is the only place to experience the grand scale of this acclaimed production in its first staging outside London.
Jesus Christ Superstar runs April 27 to May 20, 2018 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Single tickets start at $35 and are on sale now at jcsuperstar.org, in person at the Lyric Opera House box office, or by calling 312-827-5600. To guarantee a front-row rock concert experience, Lyric is also offering exclusive, $99 stage-front seating over the orchestra pit—the closest possible position to the stage—for the first time in the company’s history of presenting Broadway musicals.
Three-time Olivier Award winner Timothy Sheader directs the North American premiere of his acclaimed 2016 production from Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Sheader will be joined in Chicago by the original creative team, including conductor Tom Deering, Olivier Award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie, Tony Award-nominated set & costume designer Tom Scutt, and Olivier Award-nominated lighting designer Lee Curran. The Chicago production will feature members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus and include a total of 37 musicians and 48 cast members; the London performances comprised 11 musicians and 27 cast members.
Jesus Christ Superstar is an iconic rock opera that reinvented musical theater for the modern age. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this global blockbuster tells the story of the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, from the perspective of Judas Iscariot. As Christ’s followers grow more fervent, Judas must make his fateful choice between faith and betrayal. Filled with an exciting mix of musical styles that draw upon 1970s rock, gospel, folk and funk themes, this contemporary imagining of the biblical tale features high-energy dance and powerful storytelling.
Photo Credit: Todd Rosenberg
HEATH SAUNDERS (Jesus) debuted on Broadway in 2016 in the much-acclaimed musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. Previously he was seen in the show in its American Repertory Theatre production. He has appeared Off-Broadway in Newton’s Cradle (New York Musical Theatre Festival), for which he also wrote the music and lyrics. Other New York appearances include Lennon (Union Square Theatre), I Am Harvey Milk (Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center), and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (New York City Center Encores). Regionally Saunders has been seen in Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.). The 12 (Denver Center), Rent (Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre), and James and the Giant Peach (Seattle Children’s Theatre).
RYAN SHAW (Judas) is an Atlanta native who made his New York debut in Tyler Perry’s play I Know I’ve Been Changed. Shaw subsequently established himself doing Motown covers, joining the group Fabulous Soul Shakers and later opening for Van Halen’s 2007/08 North American tour. His first album, This is Ryan Shaw, earned him a 2008 Grammy nomination for “I Am Your Man.” Shaw again received Grammy nominations in 2011 (for “In Between”) and 2014 (for “Yesterday” on his latest CD, Real Love). He had the honor of playing Stevie Wonder in the original Broadway cast of Motown the Musical. During 2016, he lived in London performing in one of the city’s longest-running shows, Thriller Live, which honored one of Shaw’s all-time favorite artists, Michael Jackson.
JO LAMPERT (Mary Magdalene) has been seen Off-Broadway in Hundred Days (New York Theatre Workshop), Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (Public Theater — Lucille Lortel Award nomination), you’ll still call me by name (New York Live Arts), Rimbaud in NY (Brooklyn Academy of Music), New York Animals (New Ohio), Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company), Dance, Dance Revolution (Ohio Theater). Selected regional: Marie Antoinette (American Repertory Theatre/Yale REP), Prometheus Bound (A.R.T.), and The Last Goodbye (Williamstown Theater Festival). Lampert’s film and television credits include The Path and Orange is the New Black. She was seen in Japan in Elizabeth Swados’s The La Mama Cantata and on a world tour of Nikki Nack with tUnE-yArDs.
Lyric’s premiere of Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar generously made possible by Lead Sponsor The Negaunee Foundation and cosponsors an Anonymous Donor and Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes. Major in-kind audio support provided by Shure Incorporated. Production by The Regent’s Park Theatre London.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. In Association with The Really Useful Group Limited. Production by The Regent’s Park Theatre London.
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.
Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.
Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, and Creative Consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become the great North American opera company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.
To learn more about Jesus Christ Superstar, go to jcsuperstar.org or visit lyricopera.org. You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #LyricJCS #Lyric1718 #LongLivePassion