Director Joe Calarco does a captivating job with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s award-winning opera “Jesus Christ Superstar,” providing a millennial spin on the well-known classic.
With a mostly black cast, including Nicholas Edwards, who plays Jesus, the Signature Theater’s production focuses on the final days of Christ, amid a luminous modern Roman-Greco backdrop that only adds to the energy.
With the legendary songs “What’s the Buzz,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Everything’s Alright” and the title song, Calarco (“Gypsy”) directs this dazzling and fiery epic of celebrity, passion, guilt and salvation.
Edwards delivers smooth and soulful soprano tenor vocals, most notably in the touching “Poor Jerusalem.” He eventually cuts loose in “Gethsemene” with a thrilling, Dio-like growl. Natascia Diaz brings a worldly calm and Madonna-like beauty to Mary Magdalene.
One audience member, Martha White of Northern Virginia, marveled at how well the play had been performed.
“This was such a good play,” White said after the May 11 show at the Arlington theater. “This isn’t my first time seeing this production but it is the first time that I have seen it this way. I love the characters and the way that the director was able to make this play enjoyable for the next generation. It’s full of life and a definite must-see.”
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” which opened May 2 at The Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia, runs through July 2.