VSMT has a ‘superstar’

Michael Nataro

Villanova Student Musical Theater is currently in rehearsal for their version of the ’70s hit, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which opens the first weekend of November.

Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Superstar” is a modernized interpretation of the Christ story as seen through the eyes of Jesus’ betrayer, Judas Iscariot.

Originally set in the 1970s with bell-bottoms, halter tops and clogs, the purpose of this play is to portray the timeless story of the last week of Jesus’ life juxtaposed with modern times.

Director Joe Cutalo sets this version in present day New York with the actors wearing denim and leather instead of polyester.

“The purpose of this show is to conform to the modern age, so the audience can more easily relate to it,” Cutalo said. “When watching our interpretation ‘Superstar,’ the audience can more readily empathize with a stock broker and a cab driver than a fisherman and a tax collector.”

The directors and the cast say the show has a high level of energy both in its so try and its score..

“It’s an extremely intense, high-energy show, Joe Gribbin, musical director, said. “There is not a single person in the cast or orchestra who will leave that auditorium without giving the audience everything they have. The orchestra is amazing.  I don’t think people are ready to be rocked this hard.”

Cutalo insists that “Superstar” is not another “passion play.”

“It’s not a musical interpretation of ‘The Passion of the Christ,'” said Cutalo. “This production is seen through the eyes of Judas, to show his dynamic humanity, his inner conflict and his doubt which eventually led to his betrayal of Christ.”

VSMT president Bethany Deal is one of the 12 Apostles in “Superstar.” She expressed a great deal of excitement about the upcoming show. She says her favorite part of the play is the group unity onstage.

“My favorite thing about the show is how it really is a group show,” said Deal. “There are many group numbers and scenes, and it’s not simply leads putting on a show with background dancers.  Everyone is an important part of this show.  That’s a rare thing to find in musical theater.”

Deal said she is excited about the way the play is coming together in these last few weeks of rehearsal.

“It looks wonderful already, and we can only get better in the coming days.”