Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan
Between Broadway Theatre League’s The Color Purple and the Endicott Performing Arts Center’s Jesus Christ Superstar, its been a very spiritual week of theater for me. EPAC’s version of Jesus Christ Superstar is moving and tender. The message of this timeless story is delivered profoundly, as the cast is clearly connected to the “bigger message” that this musical clearly spreads.
Vincent Burns plays the hardest character of them all, Jesus. He is tender and gentle, which makes his crucifixion both harrowing and horrible. The sobs issued by the chorus during this scene are audible and heartfelt. I was holding back the tears as I witnessed the agony of this man. I hope Burns will keep digging into his role and explore the anger and fury that Jesus feels, especially during the temple scene. If he does this, he will make his already memorable performance even more powerful.
Joeseph Foti takes an interesting approach to the role of Judas. He definitely commits emotionally to Judas’ plight, and his acting carries him through his scenes well. A highlight of the evening comes from Lorraine Tiderencel as Mary. Not only is her voice stunning, but her “forbidden” love for Jesus is palpable. I wanted her songs to go on forever as listening to her sing is beautiful. Lou Ligouri as Caiaphas is strong and scary, which is needed. Ligouri commands the stage, often from a raised platform in back of the stage. He is delightfully sinister.
This production has a lot going for it. Emily Foti choreographs some great numbers, which are executed well. The play moves fast and really takes you on Christ’s final journey. If you want to celebrate the Easter season or if you just want to see some great theater, then see this show. (And make sure you stay for the unforgettable surprise at the end. It’s not what you think!)
Note: Linnehan attended a dress rehearsal of the production. Performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic rock opera spectacular continue at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through April 17 at EPAC’s Robert Eckert Theatre, 102 Washington Ave., Endicott.