The UCD Community Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, completed its run of six shows last Saturday evening, with the musical’s producer, Sarah Hall, claiming the production was a huge success.
Jesus Christ Superstar, a rock opera by Tim Rice, with music by Andrew Llyod Webber, was selected as the UCD Community Musical last year, following the successful production of The Phantom of the Opera from the previous year.
The musical is loosely based on the Gospel accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, opening with the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and culminating in his crucifixion.
Highlighting the effort put into preparations, Hall recounted the hours of work put into making the show a reality. “We did a two-week intensive bootcamp over Christmas where we do the bulk of rehearsing and then we lash into recruiting students into our orchestra.
“We have a full student orchestra, we have a full student crew. They start with props making and we start costume making. Also, the hair and make-up aspect of the show has been quite intense, such as the blood for Jesus and the crucifixion and the lashings, bruisings, so we had a team of four students that were doing that as well.”
Hall was also keen to commend the musical’s director for bringing the show into the year 2014, with some unique quirks. “Sean [Gilligan] our director is just fantastic. We’ve really modernised the show.
“As everyone knows, it’s a biblical show and we’ve brought it up to modern day by having things like Twitter going on. It’s set in modern America and set as if you were in a museum. So, we’re bringing you on a guided tour of the life of Jesus Christ rather than it being set in biblical times. We really tried to be more relative to the audience that are coming in.”
There were many performances worthy of commendation in all departments of production, but Hall singled out Wallace Hamilton-Felton, who played Pontius Pilate, for special praise.
“Wallace who is playing Pontius Pilate, which is traditionally a male part, brought it right up to modern day. Wallace just blew us away with her audition and we cast her as Pilate and got rave reviews to the point of people saying she should be on the West End in the next two years.”
Hall did express some minor concern about attendance being slightly lower than usual at Thursday and Friday’s performances due to weather, but feels that was made up with increased numbers at the Saturday matinée.
“Ticket sales were really good. Obviously the weather and different things like that haven’t been helpful. A lot of our cast are from far down the country and they have had trouble with their parents and families getting up to see the musical.
“So, we actually had a bigger crowd at the [Saturday] matinée from people that couldn’t make it over the last two nights. Overall it has been really well received and it is a really positive future for the Community Musical.”