Jesus Christ Superstar

If you thought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar is only fit for high-school stages, think again. And go again. This production is spectacular, but with a scheduling twist. Because its two stars, Michael K. Lee and Aaron Finley, are alternating between Jesus and Judas, you really need to see it twice—as I did—to appreciate their completely different interpretations of savior and traitor. Lee’s Christ has a lean, haunted, otherworldly quality that emphasizes the spiritual. With his lithe grace, he seems a god among men. Finley’s doughier Jesus seems more like a tech nerd having a tragic, heroic daydream. Directing the production is Brian Yorkey, returning to his hometown Village Theatre after recently winning a Pulitzer and Tony for Next to Normal on Broadway. And though the Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice songs are four decades old, Yorkey and company have done much to update the show. Yorkey also salts in references to glossy magazine culture, the Wall Street meltdown, torture, and even our own WTO protests, as helmeted jackboots rhythmically thwack batons on shields. It’s a dazzling farrago of the topical and the spiritual. Better still, if you go twice, the second viewing is half-price. (Moves to Everett Performing Arts Center, July 8-31.) MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 11. Continues through July 3, 2011

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