Before Phantom of the Opera launched Andrew Lloyd Webber’s career as showbiz legend, there was a little pop cantata called Jesus Christ Superstar. Circle Theatre has put on a truly marvelous production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first foray into musical theatre with a terrific cast, a unique in-the-round setting, and rocking music direction.
The cast is truly top-notch, filling roles with gusto and magnificence deserving of Grand Rapids community theater standards. Jesus is played with both grace and passion by veteran Circle Thespian Matt Tepper. Mary Magdalene is given a belting sorrowful voice by Molly Jones, a recent cast member in Civic’s Les Misérables. Fresh from playing Tevye in Civic’s Fiddler on the Roof is recent GR transplant Bart Sumner, as the wise-cracking, campy, and crooning King Herod.
Best of all is recent Grand Award-winner Stephen Grey as Judas, who is arguably the most humanized and well-rounded character in the show, given a tragic arc as a worried follower who acts instinctively in order to insure as few casualties happen in the future of the apostles’ work.
The show incorporates an in-the-round setting so as not only to liven up the typical proscenium theater experience, but also to include more intimacy with the audience. There is a seating section that allows patrons to sit mere inches away from the action which heightens the theatrical action immensely.
Circle Theater’s season has a lot to offer West Michigan Residents.
Catch one of their upcoming productions this summer:
Jun 5, 7:30 p.m. Don’t Dress for Dinner
Jun 25, 7:00 p.m. Magic Circle: Sleeping Beauty (Somewhere in Time)
Jul 11, 7:30 p.m. One Man, Two Guvnors
Aug 7, 7:30 p.m. Monty Python’s Spamalot
Hours: Monday – Friday 12PM – 5PM
CALL: (616) 456-6656
VISIT: 1703 Robinson Rd