Bay Shore Lutheran Church in Whitefish Bay is celebrating the Lenten season in an unusual but compelling way – by presenting a production of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the church’s Sanctuary.
The production, open to the public, includes members of Bay Shore Lutheran Church, 1200 E. Hampton Road, Whitefish Bay, and the community at large.
The parts of Jesus, Judas, Herod, Mary and Pilate, among others, were determined after open auditions by Robb Smith and his wife, Laura Anderle-Smith, who are theater professionals and members of Bay Shore. Robb is directing the production and Laura is assistant director.
Although the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice was controversial when first staged on Broadway in 1971, Bay Shore’s purpose in presenting it now is not to stimulate controversy but to help people of faith rekindle their interest in and understanding of the Passion story.
One reason the musical first caused a stir is that it told the story of the last seven days of Christ from the perspective of Judas, viewed down through the centuries as the ultimate betrayer.
By presenting “Jesus Christ Superstar” during this holy season, Bay Shore is inviting people of faith to consider the Passion story in a different light. Was Christ crucified as part of God’s pre-determined plan as the musical suggests? And why does Judas, the ultimate villain, sound so much like people we know – maybe even ourselves?
While there are no right or wrong answers, Bay Shore Lutheran Church hopes its production will encourage the audience to at least consider these weighty questions.
There will be four performances open to the public: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 17 (Palm Sunday); 7 p.m. Thursday April 21 (Maundy Thursday) and 7 p.m. Friday April 22 (Good Friday). Tickets are $5 each and may be reserved by calling the church at (414) 332-6436 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for the April 21 and April 22 performances but free will donations will be accepted.
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