It seemed like the longest time coming, but Wilmington Drama League's production of Jesus Christ Superstar finally opened! We auditioned in September (though we didn't start rehearsing until October), so the rehearsal schedule was quite long. But holy crap, the results are simply breathtaking, if I do say so myself.
I've done a buttload of theater, and I honestly believe that this is the most artistically satisfying piece of work I've every been involved with. Admittedly, I'm not much of an actor, but getting to work with these actors/musicians is a total honor. Everyone is a professional, there aren't any divas, no egos, the directors are awesome, and the music director is a god. I still can't believe I got cast as Mary. Holy crap!
Anyhoo, so the show opened this weekend and we packed 'em in every night. We have the second weekend almost totally sold out, and the third (closing) weekend is looking like it's filling up quickly, too. Nick (the director) mentioned that we might add shows to the run; this hasn't ever been done at WDL, so that's pretty damn cool!
It's funny... when I moved to Arizona and had no friends, I did Little Shop of Horrors at Tempe Little Theatre and met a million people, all of whom are my dearest buds now. This cast has turned out the same way... I really see many of these people being my close friends now.
Matt Casarino (he plays an amazingly evil Annas-- he rocks) is one of the warmest, genuine humans around, and he plays a mean guitar. We've jammed a few times and are working up a bunch of covers... not sure what we're gonna do with 'em yet, but we'll see.
Chris Ghiorzi is also one of my new favorite people. I knew I liked him when he picked up some totally obscure baritone harmony on first listen. :-) He's freakishly smart, super-quick, and an absolute riot. He's got a really sweet voice and also plays a mean guitar.
Steve Weatherman plays Herod, and he does an amazing job! This guy has my total, total respect-- I totally bow to his talents and insight into the acting/singing process. During one night of tech week, he and I sat in the green room eating from this Costco-sized jar of pickles... holy crap, we must've eaten 1/4 of the jar. We were giggling while shoveling these things in, and as people walked in and caught us, it was like they nabbed us in some kind of debaucherous clinch! I was having a hard time Saturday night getting into character and he talked sense into me. He's totally inspirational.
Rory Donovan plays Jesus, and he is simply fucking unreal. The dude is 18 years old and absolutely humbles me with his amazing set of lungs. Whenever I think I can sing, I just need to think of Rory to know that I have miles to go before I sleep, you know? And he's a total professional; he was very patient with me, giving me pointers and ideas, and he's not afraid to try different things. Besides that, he's just a really smart guy; very charming and a total triple-threat. I'm telling you, he's bound for fame. I don't doubt this for a second.
And then there are the Turner boys... Brian and Chris. Just amazing, great guys. Brian is a singer/songwriter and has a really mellow baritenor kind of breathy voice thing going on; he plays guitar and really feels when he sings. Totally inspirational. He fills a room with The Force instead of with this huge wall of sound... you actually want to lean in and not breathe so you can catch everything he does. Apparently Simon is a totally different way of singing for him... the Simon Zealots song just hangs out on these damn high A-flats and he cranks 'em out like a champ.
Chris Turner... well, holy crap, what an amazing human. He plays Judas... actually, I need to clarify: he plays the SHIT out of Judas. He is an amazing actor-- I could watch him all day. He's always in the moment no matter what... acting, reacting, focusing; absolutely involved with every part of the action on stage. To me, this is the hardest part about acting... not thinking, "Hey look, there's people out there. I wonder if they like the show. Is that Bob out there? Do I have enough blush on?" That's amazing acting. When Chris is on stage, dammit, he IS Judas. He simply is. He totally gets it right. And the mo-fo pops out high Bs like they're nothing. Crap, I have high Bs in "Everything's Allright" and I am a micron flat every damn time... but his just soar out of him. Die die die! :-) (Of course, the fact that he's unfathomably cute doesn't hurt him either...)
Jerm taped the show Saturday night and I started making MP3s of the performance, though I gotta say, I was having an off night and I wasn't at my best. So if you don't mind, I'm not gonna direct you to the JCS MP3 site quite yet. We're taping other nights too, so hopefully I can pick better versions from other nights.
I have to say that it really is amazing being on stage and not having to worry about how I look. I know that sounds weird, but to finally have this stupid weight thing behind me is simply incredible. It's astounding how many processor cycles used to be dedicated to worrying about my ass or whatever, and now those cycles are freed up to worry about crazy things, like gee, I dunno, acting, singing, blocking... Anyway, there's so much more I want to say on this topic, but I've gotta go. If you haven't gotten tickets yet, you need to order them now! Go to the Wilmington Drama League website and call the number there to reserve seats.