'Jesus Christ Superstar' to rock Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Jesus Christ Superstar" is about to rock the opera house. Broadway at Lyric presents the North American premiere of Britain's smash revival of the acclaimed production, which opens April 27.

"There are 48 voices because we have some of the Lyric chorus in there, as well as the regular dancing, singing ensemble, and the Lyric musicians supplemented by the essential rhythm section. So that feels to me, real exciting, as to why do it at an opera house," said Timothy Sheader, the show's director.

The spectacular re-staging of this musical includes eye-popping visuals, like Herod's golden robe, making a stunning fashion statement. Shaun Fleming, who plays Herod, said it takes a team of three to get him into the train, which is about 28 feet long.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1970 concept album, released in the UK, later Broadway show and a movie, has had plenty of revivals. But this cast is bringing a new outlook.

"What I'm trying to bring to it is a perspective that isn't just about a sexual or romantic connection between Jesus and Mary, but also the strength of being the support system for somebody who is trying to do something huge and great," said Jo Lampert, who plays Mary Magdalene.

"In great musical theater, where there is a meeting of the beautifully musical and the hyper-theatrical, when it comes together effectively, it becomes sort of timeless, immediately," said Heath Saunders, who plays Jesus.

For those who want a front row rock concert experience, the Lyric will ditch the orchestra pit and sell seating up to the edge of the stage.
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