At the Neil Simon Theatre located at 250 West 52nd Street. It opens on March 22, 2012 and is an open ended run. It runs one hour forty five minutes with one intermission.
The musical is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Tim Rice. It is based on the gospels account of the last week in Jesus life. It began as a recording that was released in 1969. The show opened on October 12, 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. It closed on June 31, 1973 after 711 performances . It won a Tony Award in 1972 for Best Original Score. Ben Vereen played the role of Judas which he was nominated for a Tony Award..
This production ran at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival from September 30, 2011 to November 6, 2011. It then played at the La Jolla Playhouse from November 18, 2011 to December 31, 2011.
The story begins seven days before Passover. There is a zipper goes across the stage telling what day it is and were the scene is taking place.
The stage is sparse there are metal platforms and a bleacher the the cast go on to perform when they are not on the stage. A table set with dishes will be brought out in different scenes. The set design is by Robert Brill. Among the shows he has done are "Guys and Dolls (2009), "Assassin" (2004), "Cabaret" (1998) and "Buried Child" (1996). He was nominated for a Tony Award for all of these shows.
This is an outstanding production which shows no wear from time. It will entertain you. The show has a large cast of seven main actors and and an ensemble of twenty two.
One of the wonderful songs and scenes done was when the song "Simon Zealous" was performed. The cast was on the bleacher singing and moving as if they were dancing. The ensemble direction and choreography done by Lisa Shriver was superb. "Gethsemane" sung by Paul Nolan was heart warming. "Herod's Song" sung by Bruce Dow, costumes and the arrangement of that scene were done a little campy but it was fun and enjoyable.
The surprise of the show was Josh Young as Judas Iscariot. I have never been in awe when some one has sung. His singing took my breath away. He has one amazing voice.
Paul Nolan as Jesus and Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdaline have a chemistry that makes their role convincingly real.
Tom Hewitt did a admirable performance as Pontius Pilate.
The whole cast did a great job.
I was disappointed in Chilina Kennedy rendition of "I Don't Know How to Love Him". It's not her singing she has a beautiful voice. It would be powerful and then it would fizzle. It wasn't consistent. When Josh sang it was WOW.
The costumes done by Paul Tazewell are Tony worthy. Tom has been nominated for a Tony Award for "Memphis", "In the Heights" and "The Color Purple".
This is a revival worth seeing. If you haven't seen it before and even if you have you won't be sorry when you do.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.