Jesus Christ Superstar makes its debut at Sacred Heart Greenwich

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Danielle Gennaro '05

This upcoming weekend, Sacred Heart Greenwich’s Upper School drama department will perform Jesus Christ Superstar as the 2018 winter musical. Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m., the cast will present the musical on stage in the Lennie and John de Csepel Theatre.

Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is a rock opera set in the week leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. The operetta has no spoken dialogue and is loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, according to stageagent.com

Jackie Koletas ’18 and Sara Hecht ’19 performing “Everything’s Alright.”
Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

The show primarily presents the conflict between Jesus Christ and His disciples, the people of Israel, and the leaders of Rome. It also focuses on the development of Jesus’ relationships with Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene.

The musical emphasizes Judas’ struggle in deciding if he should betray Jesus and the significance of his actions. It also shows Jesus’ personal conflict in accepting and understanding His role as a leader and martyr, according to stageagent.com.

Upper School Drama and English Teacher Miss Michaela Gorman ’05, who has previously directed six Sacred Heart Upper School productions, is directing Jesus Christ Superstar this year.  

Miss Gorman chose Jesus Christ Superstar as this year’s winter musical because she believes it will push the drama department to work in more creative ways than it has in the past. The production also showcases a wide variety of student talent because of its large ensemble cast. 

“I wanted to push us to try something new that required us to think about our performance differently,” Miss Gorman said. “This is not a hyper-realistic show, nor is it a show with a firm historical setting, so we have had to think creatively and try new approaches.”

The cast of Jesus Christ Superstar performing “The Temple.”
Courtesy of Nicole Tapia ’20

Freshman Emma Pope, a member of the cast, loves the family-like ensemble of Jesus Christ Superstar. She felt very welcomed into the production, allowing her to enjoy creating each part of the show.

“My favorite part of this performance is becoming a family with the whole cast,” Emma said. “The theatrical performances in the high school would not be as amazing without the sincerely awesome cast members. That’s why I’m so grateful to be in this winter’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Senior Jackie Koletas will play the role of Mary Magdalene, the only leading female character in the play. Jackie describes Mary Magdalene’s character as loyal because she is truly devoted to helping and guiding Jesus. She helps Him to maintain His composure and express His message to a crowd that blindly admires His public personality.

“Mary Magdalene is Jesus’ therapist or PR [Public Relations] person,” Jackie said. “Throughout the musical, she confronts Him about how hard He is pushing Himself. Though many see her as the love interest of Jesus, she is just like a devoted fan to a celebrity. She loves what He does and who He is.”

Zada Brown ’20 performing “Heaven on Their Minds” as Judas Iscariot.
Courtesy of Miss Danielle Gennaro ’05

Jesus Christ Superstar is an exploration of the human side of Jesus and Judas, not simply a literal retelling of the passion of Christ. Miss Gorman has decided to set the show in a contemporary timeline to emphasize the flawed ways Jesus’ apostles and disciples view His mission. She expressed her excitement for the audience to see what the drama department has been able to accomplish through Jesus Christ Superstar because it is a unique production to Sacred Heart’s drama program.

“The most exciting part of this production has been watching my students rise to new challenges,” Miss Gorman said. “This production doesn’t look like anything we have done before, and I can’t wait for audiences to have a chance to see what this cast can do!”