Skyline players debut ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
May 12, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
If there was ever a rock opera to rock the house, Skyline High School’s “Jesus Christ Superstar: The Last Seven Days in the Life of Jesus of Nazareth” is it.
With colorful costumes created by student Jaymi Matsudaira and a student-created score for the crucifixion scene by Scott Sherman, the production promises to bring down the house this spring.
“Jesus Christ Superstar” was the first full-length rock opera created by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber and recounts the last week of Jesus’ life.
“It’s exciting,” said Steve Shuken, a junior who plays Judas. “It is something no other high school has done here. And it’s a rock opera, so it’s fun, but it is also thought provoking and emotionally provoking.”“I think the show is so great,” said Bill Doerrfeld, a senior who plays Jesus. “Really, I don’t have a love for musicals, but the songs here are fantastic.”
The technical ability of the leads to sing the high-octave tenor parts made Drama Director Jim Henderson double cast the parts of Jesus, Judas and Mary Magdalene, so none of the students would lose his or her voices.
“It is a cool show, because you can do a lot of improv with your vocals,” said Rachel Beck, a senior who plays Mary Magdalene.
“Our performances are very different, especially the reflections in our vocals,” said Emma O’Melia, a sophomore who also plays Mary.
While the production could be considered controversial, Henderson and his students said they haven’t received negative comments.
“Mr. Henderson has done a good job not stepping on anyone’s toes, which is important in a high school environment,” said Jeffrey Stillwell, who plays Jesus.
“Whether you’re nonreligious or religious, this is a different view on the last seven days of his life and it can appeal to anyone,” said Jacob Moe-Lang, a junior who plays Judas.
Students and Henderson said they’ve been sensitive with the most dramatic scenes in the show, including the whipping scene and when Jesus is tied to the cross.
“We’ve been running shows here for 12 years,” Henderson said. “We have tried to make it clear that we’re not proselytizing. It is a story, that no matter what your belief is, you will enjoy it.”
Because of the drama department’s success, the students in it were recently invited to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in summer 2010. The school’s drama program was nominated by officials at Cornish College for the Arts, in Seattle.
At the festival, students can earn a college half-credit through classes, will have the opportunity to see international performances and will perform in front of an international audience, Henderson said.
He said he and his students have a lot of planning and fundraising to do between now and next spring, and he will look for corporate and private sponsors.
If you go
‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
7:30 p.m. May 12-16
2 p.m. May 16
$8 for students
and senior citizens
$10 for general admission
Skyline High School
1122 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish
Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.