Atlanta Theater: Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel

Four years ago, Atlanta hosted the premiere of a fresh take on Alice Walker’s The Color Purple – a musical. “The Color Purple” danced from its southern roots to Broadway, embarking on a national tour that eventually led the moving production back to its premiere roots.

This year, the Alliance Theater premieres another new look at a classic story, “Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel.” Retaining original lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the gospel version is conceived and arranged by Grammy award-winning songwriter Louis St. Louis, who penned songs for both Grease and Grease 2. St. Louis takes the vulnerable story of Jesus Christ Superstar and harkens to his Detroit Pentecostal church roots to bring swinging soul to Webber’s rock hits.

The stone/marble set with added choir risers, created the backdrop for the choir ensemble and cast, clad in all white modern day attire. Mary Magdalene played by Nicole Long and Judas played by Darryl Jovan Williams were particular vocal standouts. Eric Jordan Young’s turn as a pimpish Herod added a new panache to the role and one of the most well executed scenes of the production. Hopefully this choir-rocking, hand-clapping production will also make its way from a southern soul mecca premiere to a Broadway run.

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