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Internationally acclaimed rock-opera features a high school/college cast
The eerie first notes of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s internationally acclaimed score are set to fill Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre (FMCT) this July, as many of the area’s most talented high school and college-aged young artists bring the award-winning rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar to life.
The show debuts just five days after Godspell finishes its run on the FMCT stage. While both shows are centered around the life of Jesus, Jesus Christ Superstar explores the last week of Jesus’s life through the eyes of the disciple Judas Iscariot. It first debuted in 1970 as a rock opera concept album with a score by the legendary duo of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita) and features famous numbers such as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” and “Gethsemane.”
The music is iconic. The energy it brings to the characters and the story has had such a powerful impact on so many generations,” said FMCT Artistic Director, Adam Pankow. “At the time, no one had done something that was sung from start to finish, with no spoken dialogue. That structure really paved the way for musicals like Rent and Hamilton.”
A production that is entirely sung with no dialogue poses a unique challenge for the cast, Pankow said. Adding to that challenge, this production will come together over the course of 16 jam-packed days of rehearsal. It’s a sped-up program structure that Pankow has used for other productions and is excited to bring to FMCT.
“There are challenges to telling the story in a rock-opera format — you sing and dance the whole thing. And with this program, it’s a very compact, professional work experience. What we accomplish in two days is equivalent to a week of rehearsal on a normal production schedule,” he said. “Yet, I’ve found when you put a challenge in front of young artists they rise to meet it, and the result is incredible.”
Not to mention that with such a quick turnaround, the Godspell stage will be flipped to a Jesus Christ Superstar set up to accommodate the cast, crew, and orchestra of nearly 60 in less than five days. Pankow is looking forward to showing the community the creative ways they are able to make such a tight deadline work.
Tickets for Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar are available now at fmct.org. Godspell will run from July 17-21 and Jesus Christ Superstar will run from July 26-28 & 30, and August 2. Patrons can save $5 when buying tickets for both shows with FMCT’s summer “Disciple Deal” special. To purchase tickets, call 701-235-6778 or purchase online at fmct.org.