‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ lands on Jamaican soil
First Dance Studios and Montego Bay businessman, Andre Dixon have purchased the licence to stage the internationally acclaimed award-winning Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar in Jamaica.
The multi-award winning musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber will be produced and directed by a hand-picked team of experts and performed by a Jamaican cast.
Based on the Bible’s account of the last week of Jesus’ life, the story begins with the preparation for His arrival, and that of the disciples in Jerusalem, ending with the crucifixion. It depicts political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus that are not present in the Bible. The show opens at the Iberostar Rose Hall, Montego Bay, on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14, and moves to the capital city, Kingston, on May 18 and 19 at the Courtleigh Auditorium.
According to the production team, the cast is already shaping up to be a highly qualified and extremely talented group.
“We look forward to announcing soon our final selections for the lead roles of Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, Caiaphas, Annas, King Herod, Pontius Pilate and the disciples, as well as the supporting ensemble of singers and dancers. We’re confident it will be an absolute treat for the audience, it’s going to be one for the books,” declares the director, David Tulloch.
Tulloch, who has directed plays such as Border Patrol and Prayer Partner, and First Dance Studios have teamed up with Dixon who, late last year, attended their Season Showcase, where he marvelled at the standard of the performances accomplished by young children with minimal experience and varying levels of training.
“The level was par for the course. For the youngsters to execute an event of such a high standard, production-wise, I had no doubt that with the right level of support and investment, we could accomplish amazing results – the possibilities are limitless,” Dixon says.
Recognised locally and internationally, particularly in western Jamaica, for his executive roles in a number of major establishments, including Margaritaville, The Twisted Kilt, and currently Hard Rock Café, Dixon, as executive producer of the show, will introduce the Jamaican audience to his less-known but extensive experience in show business. Having played the part of King Herod in an off-Broadway version of Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as working for a number of years in entertainment as a radio broadcaster in Mississippi and a stage actor in Las Vegas, he brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the production.
First Dance Studios, operated by sisters Jody-Marie and Sheri-Lee Smith, complement the team. The sisters, who have made significant strides in developing the performing arts in western Jamaica, insisted on using a locally grown team and cast. “We have an immense amount of talent in Jamaica, and in particular within the west, so there is absolutely no need to look outside for talent to execute a world-class production, and we aim to prove this,” Jody-Marie Smith states.
She credits their creative team’s track record of accomplishments, which she says speak volumes for what can be expected at Jesus Christ Superstar.
Edna Manley School of the Arts graduate Vinton Haughton is leading the musical direction, and award-winning Performing Arts World Championships coach, Antonio Dennis, is directing choreography.