SJU Theatre Company Relaunches with 'Jesus Christ Superstar'
Friday, September 23, 2011
PHILADELPHIA (September 23, 2011) – To kick off its first official season as the SJU Theatre Company, the former Saint Joseph’s University’s Cap & Bells Dramatic Arts Society will stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The show opens Thursday, Sept. 29, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 9.
The Company's name change comes at the same time as the introduction of the new Department of Music, Theatre & Film and introduction of the new majors of Music and Theatre & Film. Renee Dobson M.F. A. associate professor of theatre and artistic director of Bluett Theatre says the change will have a positive impact on the production seasons.
“The SJU Theater Company better reflects the professional standards of the students, faculty and University theater community,” says Dobson.
Originally a rock-opera album released by Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, Superstar is a musical adaptation of the last seven days of Jesus’ life. With familiar Biblical characters and contemporary twists, the 1971 Broadway hit explores the relationships between Jesus (Patrick Bishop ’13), Judas (Brett Brandes ’15) and Mary Magdalene (Megan Smith ’14).
According to Dobson, the musical was chosen for its ties to the SJU mission and opportunities for students to adapt a classic.
“Performing a show that follows the basic format of a traditional Passion play represents our Jesuit mission very well,” says Dobson. “But Superstar also has a lot of room for adding a modern edge. The students do a great job of using contemporary details to convey a universal message.”
Some of those details include a 10-piece rock band performing the accompanying music, comprised of both SJU students and professional guest artists, and modern-day slang and clothing. While Dobson says the show is family-friendly, parents should be warned that some scenes, the 39 lashes and crucifixion in particular, may be intense.
Performances run Thursday, Sept. 29 through Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the SJU Theatre Company website or by calling 610-660-1181. Cost is $10 for students, faculty, staff and senior citizens; general admission is $18. Bluett Theatre is located in Post Hall at 56th St. & Overbrook Ave.