Regional Reviews: Connecticut and the Berkshires
On Martin Scott Marchitto's good looking, multi-level set, this production shines brightest in the many musical numbers. Leading the show off with a stirring "Heaven on Their Minds," Christian Cardozo makes for a handsome and devious Judas and he also scores high in the first act finale and in the dynamic title number, late in the show.
Every bit Judas' equal, Chris Kozlowski is extremely sympathetic and touching as Jesus and he delivers an especially moving "Gethsemane." The crucifixion scene, with tears quite visible in the performer's eyes, is emotional to watch.
Jesus Christ Superstar features lighter moments, as well. Gina Lariccia, who was a wonderful Edna Turnblad in Downtown Cabaret Theatre's recent production of Hairspray, is just as good here as King Herod, stopping the show with "King Herod's Song," which gives the second half of the production quite a lift and a rare moment of comedy. Also doing well in just a single number is the lovely and elegant Leondra Smith-West, as Pilate's Wife. Her solo, "Pilate's Dream," is transfixing and she looks regal in a beautiful white gown (in fact, all of designer Jessica Camarero's costumes are absolutely ideal).
In other prominent roles, John Demetre, Eric Regan, Sean Davis, Nick Kuell, and Jermaine Gladman are all quite good, as friends or foes of Jesus, but there is something extra special Carolyn Reeves as Mary Magdalene. She delivers a gorgeous "I Don't Know How to Love Him" and also makes the most out of "Everything's Alright" and "Can We Start Again, Please?" In addition, she partners Chris Kozlowski's Jesus perfectly.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's music sounds rich and full-bodied, as played by the fabulous offstage orchestra led by the expert musical director Eli Newsom. There is also fantastic work by sound designer Chris Gensur, and lighting designer Phill Hill has done a cunning job in using light to shape the individual scenes.
Downtown Cabaret Theatre's production of Jesus Christ Superstar is certainly fortunate to have such fine contributors, both onstage and off, but it is the superlative cast and their amazing voices that make the strongest impression. It is truly great to hear this score sung so robustly, and, for that reason alone, this Jesus Christ Superstar is well worth seeing.
Jesus Christ Superstar, through April 8, 2018, at Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport CT. For tickets, please visit www.dtcab.com or call the box office at 203-576-1636.