Jesus Christ Superstar @ Theatre Off Jackson
What if Jesus lived in the digital age? 📱
Published October 31, 2022
Runs November 4 – 19
“If you’d come today you could have reached a whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication”
Reboot Theatre Company, founded in 2014, has built its brand standing out in a crowded Seattle theatre scene, “testing new interpretations of established works through nontraditional casting, design, and methods yet to be discovered.” Previous works include Little Shop of Horrors, Sweeney Todd, and an all-female version of 1776 long before the Roundabout Theatre version currently on Broadway. So what will it do with Jesus Christ Superstar, the ’70s Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera about the last days of…well, you know.
“We’re taking this high-octane musical and placing it in a very intimate setting at Theatre Off Jackson while pushing the boundaries of what we as a company have done,” director/choreographer Harry Turpin told The Ticket. “This is our most ambitious project yet at Reboot from a technical standpoint.”
With over 50 years of productions around the world, there have been thousands of interpretations of Jesus Christ Superstar, and the ones that get lost in the shuffle tend to be the ones without a new angle. “This version of JCS is really capturing the digital age we live in,” Turpin said. “How do we use media to make or break celebrity? How does it factor into our way of viewing the news and what happens?”
The cast, ready to sing their heads off, include William Douglas Johnson (Jesus), Jordyn Day Palmer (Mary), and founding artistic director Jasmine Joshua (Pilate), with Shana E. Emile holding down the center as Judas.
“What I love about this show is the deep, unwavering commitment and faith these actors and production team have in this vision,” Turpin explained. “We’re here to push buttons and taking a story that is incredibly known and reinterpreting it, giving it a modern twist. What happens if we change the trappings around it? Does it still resonate? I believe it does and even more so, in our celebrity-driven culture.”
“The world is obsessed with liking to see people succeed but loving to tear them down,” Turpin concluded. “This and the constant media circus the previous administration put us all through combined with how the news is interpreted variously by different channels feels like it is ripe for us to take stock of how we consume, how we process, and the conclusions we draw. Are they ours? Are they someone else’s? What is our opinion on the things presented to us and then skewered? It’s something we all face every day.”
Or to quote the play:
“If you strip away the myth from the man
You will see where we all soon will be”
📸: Reboot Theatre Company