On Sunday, Paramount’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, reached the finish line bringing our six week run to an emotional, exhilarant ending! The closing night audience leapt to its feet in praise of what can only be described as an all-around remarkable achievement for this company! Taking their bows, the cast lined the edge of the stage, as close as they could possibly be to maestro Tom Vendafreddo and our Paramount Orchestra, clapping while stomping their feet on the deck making the stage a thundering drum of their exuberant appreciation for them! The air crackled with cheering and renewed vigor for the stars, Bri Sudia and Paul-Jordan Jansen, our Nelly Lovett and Sweeney Todd, both teary-eyed and aglow with the applause and the roar of the crowd! It’s surreal as I’m standing there watching, proud for them, celebrating them, grateful for them.
But nothing really seems to end around here as one soulful, surreal experience leads to another. Dear reader, the very next morning, Paramount’s Jesus Christ Superstar began rehearsals. Soulful and surreal, indeed! Our staff has been anticipating seeing this cast gather together under one roof with so much excitement for them, it almost felt like a dream coming true and materializing before our eyes. Seemingly endless months of negotiation and coordination by Casting Director Trent Stork and Company Manager Kaylee Oost has resulted in a select group of actors, singers and dancers for which Director/Choreographer Ron Kellum has prepared a stunning vision. Our production of “Superstar” will deliver on the intentions of its writers, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, in reflecting the rebellion of the first Christians against ancient Rome with the human rights issues, violent protests and assassinations of the 60s. The genius of this 1970 rock opera is it’s mirroring of our conflicts today as illuminated by Mr. Kellum’s brilliant Dramaturg Roger Ellis who addressed the company after lunch via Skype. He writes in his Dramaturgical Summary:
“History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Many of the divisive issues present during the life of Jesus have morphed and resurfaced and over the course of history. To understand then is to understand now. Jesus Christ Superstar offers an opportunity to explore the tangled relationship between race, class, gender and status through one of the world’s most timeless and universal stories.”
Mr. Ellis continues:
“Inclusion, empathy, love, generosity and forgiveness; these are the principles Jesus lived and died trying to impart to others. These lessons continue to hold relevance today.”
More about all this to come. For now, please know you have…
My love & thanks,