Monday, February 16, 2015

JC Rocks

Extended through April 19 at the MET Theatre!!
The MET Theatre has deep roots in the land of 99 seats.  More than thirty   years ago, Bill Bushnell and his LA Actors Theatre held forth there with excellent productions using professional actors to high acclaim.  Today, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice meet Hair meets La Cage Aux Folles in Dolf Ramos and Marco Gomez’s  cracker jack production of Jesus Christ: Superstar. A superior cast rocks the house upstairs at the MET.  It’s a musical celebration in the midst of controversy about Actors Equity Association rattling sabers, ready to gut the current 99 Seat Plan.  The irony is that Ramos and Gomez, producers of high quality musical theatre in the tiny space on Oxford, actually pay their actors, hire musicians as well as top notch technical staff.  A full house for a Sunday matinee means a couple of things. One is that JC Superstar is a tried and true hit. Second is that with a cast of over twenty five actors and musicians, you can guarantee at least a few full houses who will stand to applaud. When word of mouth gets out, it’ll still rock on its own.

Fact is that this DOMA production, not without its flaws, will bring an audience of even total strangers to their feet and rightly so.  The Webber/Rice version of the last days of Jesus are seen through the eyes of Judas, (terrific Jeremy Saje), whose strong voice and dedication to the part bring chills.   One distraction, however is that our standard ‘bearded lady’ memory of the King of Kings remembers him with long flowing hair.  The hairpiece that equally strong Nate Parker as Jesus sports was immediately an issue for me.  From the leads to the ensemble, costumes by Lauren Oppelt and commitment are consistent and well done.   With the hip modern day approach to the play, real hair for Jesus would have been just fine.  Abandoning disbelief is crucial, even in a rock opera.  Excellent performances include strong vocals by Renee Cohen as Mary Magdalene and Venny Carronza as Herod.

Excessive stage fog seemed unnecessary, but the excellent stage  design by John Iacovelli and an amazing live band directed by Chris Raymond make this a truly professional production. Director Marco Gomez and choreographer Angela Todaro deserve double applause for their precision.  Over all, this is a great presentation of a classic American Rock Opera.

DOMA is dedicated to musical theatre.    It’s a must see.

Parking for the theatre is available east of  Santa Monica with a few spots in the neighborhood.   Arrive early. 

Jesus Christ: Super Star
By Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Performances continue through March 22:
Fridays & Saturdays @ 8 pm, Sundays @ 3
DOMA at The MET Theatre
1089 N. Oxford Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
Tickets and Information:
323 802 9181 

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