The Production Company Creates A Thoroughly Modern Jesus Christ Superstar - Noise11.com
Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Rob Mills plays Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the State Theatre Melbourne. Photo Ros O'Gorman

The Production Company Creates A Thoroughly Modern Jesus Christ Superstar

by Paul Cashmere on July 28, 2017

in News

For the 2017 version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ The Production Company have excelled to create a totally modern version of the classic rock opera that is worthy of touring if they so desired.

The casting of Rob Mills as Jesus, Zoy Frangos as Judas and Alinta Chidzey as Mary Magdalene bring a freshness to this production that makes this show a must see even if you have seen it a dozen times before.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

The simplicity of the set focuses the audience on the music and the story. The costumes bring the story into the now. The last thing you think of watching this show is some old bible tale. This Jesus Christ Superstar relates more to modern day politics than a 2000-year-old event in history.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Orchestral Services Manager James Kempster has put a powerful band together including Palace of the King’s Tim Henwood on guitar to bring rock authenticity to the sound.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Alinta Chidzey is a star. Alinta has long been part of The Production Company family performing in ‘Curtains’, ‘Showboat’, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ and ‘Chess’. As Mary, this is her star moment.

Zoy Frangos is dressed like James Dean for the role of the villain Judas. While the book may be about Rob’s character the show is all around Zoy’s. You can’t have a “goodie” without a “baddie” and Zoy’s voice is the dark rock element in this show.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Zoy’s credits include Les Miserables, An Officer and A Gentleman and My Fair Lady. This is his The Production Company debut.

Rob Mills already feels like a veteran of theatre after successfully washing off an Australian Idol start to his career. Millsy has proven himself as one of Australia’s true theatre talents and will be doing this for years to come. His roles in Ghost, Grease and Legally Blonde have consolidated him as the go-to guy for modern theatre. As Jesus, Rob’s role is more like fronting a band than acting. This is where Rob’s pop star apprenticeship pays off. Jesus Christ Superstar allows Rob to connect the two sides of his career.

Act two features the centrepiece song ‘King Herod’s Song’ performed by Trevor Ashley.

Of course, these shows don’t direct themselves. Gale Edwards once again makes the magic happen. Gale previously directed a Jesus Christ Superstar production 25 years ago. Another veteran of The Production Company, she has worked on Chess, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, West Side Story and Funny Girl. Gale Edwards modernisation of his production of Jesus Christ Superstar is what makes it so unique.

The Production Company is a Melbourne treasure. Founder Jeanne Pratt has worked tirelessly for the past two decades giving Melbourne a point-of-difference to the rest of the country in the arts.

Jesus Christ Superstar opens in The State Theatre Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Artistic Director Ken Mackenzie-Forbes and Executive Director Rachel D Taylor have built a platform to give new talent a start and their veteran performers a stage to showcase. There is nothing like The Production Company anywhere else in Australia. These three people contributed to Melbourne’s reputation as the arts capital of Australia.

Jesus Christ Superstar will run for 19 performances from 29 July to 13 August at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne.

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