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Posted: January 7, 2009 1:38 a.m.

Bringing gospel flavor to Andrew Lloyd Webber

Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL runs at the Alliance Jan. 14 - Feb. 22

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There’s a reason to rejoice at the Alliance Theatre this January as the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster rock opera hits the stage starting Jan. 21 in an exhilarating new gospel production: "Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL." Audiences will experience the hit musical as never before in an inspirational, hand-clapping event that puts the power of praise back into the gospels.

Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan V. Booth directs this groundbreaking musical, the theatre’s largest production in 20 years.

"I am profoundly lucky to be in the position of being the director of Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL," said Booth. "One of the greatest works of the theatrical form meets the greatest sound in the world. This is pure, true Atlanta gospel. This is an event that transcends traditional theatre."

"Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL" follows the last seven days of the life of Christ and puts Judas at the center of the passion story with a rich and deeply human point of view. The show begins with Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and continues through the exhilaration and apprehension of the new leader, the effect of the crowds on the Roman occupation forces and Jesus’ betrayal, trial and crucifixion.

This new version will highlight Atlanta’s rich gospel tradition with an extraordinary 27-member local choir on stage alongside a Broadway-caliber cast. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyricist Tim Rice gave special permission to develop this new interpretation of the work to Louis St. Louis, an experienced Broadway and film composer and music director (credits include "Smokey Joe’s Café," "Grease," "Grease 2" and "Mahogany"), whose own musical roots spring from the Detroit Pentecostal Church.

The 50-member cast and choir includes Darius de Haas as Jesus; Nicole Long as Mary Magdalene; Darryl Jovan Williams as Judas; Eric Jordan Young as Herod; Destan Owens as Pilate; Keith Adams as Simon; and Philip Dorian McAdoo as Peter.

Covington resident Chandra Currelley was cast in the ensemble and serves as backup for the roles of Judas and Herod.

Members of the artistic team that will bring this new gospel musical to life on stage are Michael Yeargan, set designer; Paul Tazewell, costume designer; Robert Wierzel, lighting designer; Jon Weston, sound designer; Darryl Jovan Williams, gospel vocal arranger; Dave Pierce, orchestrator; and Jade Lambert Smith, dramaturg.

The show opens Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. on the Alliance Stage. Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Jan. 14 – Feb. 22. The Sunday, Feb. 8 show at 2:30 p.m. will be Audio Described for the visually impaired, and there will not be a matinee performance on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Tickets are $25 - $75 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office by calling (404) 733-5000 or online at www.alliancetheatre.org.

Discount rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (404) 733-4690. Discount rates are also available for members of the military, seniors and students.

The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, corner of Peachtree and 15th Street, in Midtown Atlanta.

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