What a week it was! In the wake of sad news from home, actor Destan Owens bid farewell to the Jesus Christ Superstar company amidst the warm embrace of his fellow actors sending him forward singing hymns of praise, transforming the Copley rehearsal space into a room full of spirit and support. I often think of theater like church and will never forget this cast’s lifting up of Destan, his family and each other!
Destan’s role as “Jesus of Nazareth” was immediately passed to Evan Tyrone Martin, who has intercepted graciously, thoughtfully and most capably, an emotionally overwhelming turn of events. From the ensemble, Gilbert Domally has stepped up to the role of “Peter” left by Evan, and by Friday afternoon, the company was scheduled to sing with our orchestra’s four man rhythm section in a special rehearsal before the full wandelprobe next week. Without missing a beat, both actors have made their new roles their own! And no surprise as Gilbert made a similar supporting turn as ”Seaweed” in Paramount’s Hairspray to stunning reviews. Evan has been playing leading roles to great acclaim throughout the Chicago musical theatre scene over the past several years. That was Evan you saw as “King Triton” here in The Little Mermaid and “Tom Collins” in our Rent. As their stars continue to rise, the entire company again rallied around these two and practically blasted the windows out of the ballroom onto the Fox! Having this quartet of musicians with music directors Tom Vendafreddo and Kory Danielson stoked this cast to new heights drawing a newly realized level to their work!
An artistic director has quite a day-to-day experience. What makes a heart heavy one day can raise it up the next. And this time, well, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Faith and fortune have surrounded all of us here with individuals of character joyful, thankful and beautiful. The soul of this production of Jesus Christ Superstar is found, and all of us, dear reader, are in for the experience of a lifetime!
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