Photos by Namu Williams

This production is scheduled April 26-May 5, 2024.

Don’t let the subject matter, or the drive up the coast, or other plans already scheduled—or indeed any other reason you can dream up—keep you from seeing the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert.

With only one weekend remaining to see this haunting, powerful, riveting production, the time is now to tell your friends, reserve the tickets, and plan for a raw, operatic, energetic two hours of live musical theatre.

Why should you drop everything to go see a rock opera depicting the final days of Christ on Earth, created more than 50 years ago by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice?

Borjan plays the role as “just a man,” but is the epitome of humanity throughout in song and action.”

Let us count the ways:

Bryce Prunty as Judas—growling and scowling from the first words sung in the show to his remorseful last living rage sung to a relentless beat and reflected in hot, red stage lights. Prunty’s unrelenting anger throughout is potent and heart-breaking, opening us up to feel down to our bones his pain and his confusion.

Gary Borjan as Jesus—with a perfect, powerful vocal and physical presence that ranges from softly compassionate, to persistently demanding (“Why should I die?”), to wrenchingly, soaringly human as he is abandoned by his followers to die. Borjan plays the role as “just a man,” but is the epitome of humanity throughout in song and action.

Evangelia Pappas as Mary and Simon Lowrie as Pilate—with clear and lyrical voices they raise many of the contradictions inherent in the story. As actors they both rise to the challenge of playing their iconic characters with style and grace.

The live, five-piece band—the immediate and enveloping ambiance of placing it center stage underscores the straight-forward touch that Hank Wethington employs in directing this show. He and musical director Dakota W. Simpson are generous to their instrumentalists, their main singers, and to the ensemble, giving them some latitude in both rock and operatic styles (befitting the iconic nature of the show). Lauren Weyel on flute, Tom Bethke on guitar, Matthew Nygren on bass, and Aaron Kroeger on drums each shine at different moments, as do several members of the ensemble—notably Alex Munoz as Caiaphas, Sara Mackenzie as Annas, Heather Malcolm as Simon, and Brandon MacDonald as Peter.

If you need one more reason not to miss this show, here it is in a word: inspiration.”

In many ways the production is a trip back to the 60s, with hard-driving rock songs one minute (“The Temple”), familiar love songs the next (“I Don’t Know How to Love Him”), then ballads bringing everyone together (“Hosanna”). That each number engages the audience so completely is a testament to a very fine production.

If you need one more reason not to miss this show, here it is in a word: inspiration.

It is the kind of production that will inspire you. Perhaps to volunteer in community theatre performing onstage or behind the scenes, perhaps to scratch an itch to be an activist or spokesperson for a cause, perhaps to help out your community in some other way.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a production of note that deserves your attention and your attendance.

:: Charlotte Alexander