It has been 20 years since I was part of the audition process for the 2004 production of Jesus Christ Superstar at La Salle College. After casting the students, I then went on maternity leave and did not have any further involvement with the production until viewing an actual performance in August of the following year. In 2004 under the direction of Nicole Stinton (Loke), La Salle presented its first full length musical complete with live band. The play was a huge success and over my years at the College it was always my plan to revive Jesus Christ Superstar in its 20th year. Unfortunately, interruptions with COVID meant that we had to either present the production in its 19th or 21st year, so here we are today celebrating the production of Jesus Christ Superstar in its 19th year.
Jesus Christ Superstar has evolved over time, and as such the performance that you’ll see is inspired by the arena spectacular that hit Australian shores in 2013 and was seen by nearly a million people. The show has lost its hippy vibes of the 70s and 80s and has taken on a modern and edgy persona. Whilst in essence, the story has not changed, some of the settings and the professions of the characters themselves have been altered to reflect a more modern retelling of how the story of Jesus, Judas and the crucifixion might play out today.
The roles of priests and holy men have been replaced by government officials, the temple now a nightclub that works symbolically to demonstrate how sometimes it is the sins of the mind and not our actions themselves that we need redeeming from. Whilst the narrative of the story is the last week of the life of Jesus, it is important to remember that this rock opera is loosely based on the gospels and does not in any way pretend to be anything more than that. The students have really embraced what has been a challenging task. Whilst the play is creative and exciting and unlike anything we have done in 19 years, the score isn’t easy for the cast or the orchestra.
Our courageous students have risen to the challenge under the guidance of our amazing staff, Musical Director Samantha Ashman, Vocal Director Heidi Lake and Choreographer Virginia Bochrinis and look fantastic because of our Costume Designer Pauline Van Der Westhuizen and tonight they bring you a show, that will hopefully not only entertain you but move you. It is my hope that you are as proud of the cast, orchestra and crew superstars as I am. Of course, a production like this just ‘can’t happen’ and it is the work and flexibility of an amazing and large team of students, staff and volunteers that has enabled this production to be a success. I am forever grateful that working on a project like this enables our community to really build connections beyond the classroom and beyond the walls of the College.
I would like to thank everyone that had a hand in this production or supported our endeavours. Finally, a big thank you to those in the College and at home who have supported me. Production time is always busy and sometimes a little crazy and I would like to thank you for that extra bit of love, patience, humour and cooking.
I am grateful to our wonderful school community for supporting our students – close to 1000 tickets were sold across the four shows!
Shellie Rodriguez | Director