Press Release: Broadway beckons: Jesus Christ Superstar to open at the Neil Simon Theater on March 22, 2012

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce that its production of Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Artistic Director Des McAnuff, will commence a Broadway run this spring.

The New York production of Jesus Christ Superstar will open at the Neil Simon Theatre on Thursday, March 22, 2012, with previews beginning Thursday, March 1.

Dodger Properties and the Really Useful Group will present the Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

“I have wanted to do Jesus Christ Superstar for quite a long time,” says Artistic Director Des McAnuff. “I’m extremely pleased to be able to stage the piece with the company of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. I am even more pleased to be able to go with them back to La Jolla Playhouse, which I still consider an important home. We will all be very excited to go from there on to New York.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the Festival,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “Des’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar has delighted audiences here all season long. Now, as it heads for Broadway by way of La Jolla, it will raise our international profile and entice new audiences to come and experience more of our work in Stratford.”

The Festival’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar opened in Stratford on June 3 and will run through November 6. Following that, it will play La Jolla Playhouse from November 18 to December 31.

The Toronto Star called Jesus Christ Superstar “the best show you’ll see this year,” while The Globe and Mail said, “This production is an absolute miracle.”

“A sparkly production literally pulsing with life,” wrote the Toronto Sun; and Variety enthused, “McAnuff has managed to come up with a vision that is faithful to the original but manages to make it seem fresh to an audience in 2011.”

A number of Stratford productions have gone on to New York over the years, including 2002’s King Lear, with Christopher Plummer in the title role; 1998’s The Miser and Much Ado About Nothing; 1996’s Barrymore; 1994’s The Molière Comedies; 1983’s The Mikado; and 1956’s Tamburlaine the Great. The 2009 production of The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by and featuring Brian Bedford, inspired a Broadway run this year, as did the 1994 production of Timon of Athens, directed by Michael Langham with Mr. Bedford in the title role.

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Press Release: Jesus Christ Superstar extended by one week

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is delighted to announce the extension of its production of Jesus Christ Superstar, helmed by Artistic Director Des McAnuff. The Festival has added eight performances between November 1 and 6, extending the 2011 season by one week.
“It’s a testament to the work that we do and the talent we’ve assembled that this production has received such positive response,” says Mr. McAnuff. “And it’s extremely gratifying to have praise come from the highest quarters with lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber attending the show and offering their support. We’re very pleased to be able to give people additional opportunities to see this production at the end of our season.”
Jesus Christ Superstar has been thrilling audiences and critics since it first previewed in May,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “It’s been a tremendous success for the Festival this season, and the demand for tickets is so strong that we wanted to ensure that everyone gets a chance to see this truly remarkable piece of theatre.”
Immediately following the run the production will transfer to the La Jolla Playhouse in California, where it will play from November 18 – December 31.
Tickets will go on sale for the extension period to the General Public on Monday, July 25 at 9 a.m. Festival Members will have access to these tickets starting on Saturday, July 23 at 9 a.m. To order tickets, contact the Box Office at 1.800.567.1600 or visit http://www.stratfordshakespearefestival.com, where the new performances have been added to the online calendar.

Press Release: Jesus Christ Superstar to move to La Jolla Playhouse

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is delighted to announce that its hit production of Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Artistic Director Des McAnuff, is moving to La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego this November.

Lyricist Tim Rice and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber both gave the production high praise after seeing it earlier this month and the production received glowing reviews across the board.

The Globe and Mail raved, “This production is an absolute miracle,” while the Toronto Star called it “the best show you’ll see this year.” “A sparkling production literally pulsing with life,” wrote the Toronto Sun; and Variety enthused, “McAnuff has managed to come up with a vision that is faithful to the original but manages to make it seem fresh to an audience in 2011.”

Jesus Christ Superstar will play at La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre from November 18 to December 31.

“Given my long, happy and fruitful history with La Jolla Playhouse, I am naturally thrilled by the prospect of this collaboration between our two great theatres,” says Mr. McAnuff. “The pride I take in the magnificent work being done by our Festival artists in Jesus Christ Superstar is matched by my deep appreciation to La Jolla for giving us this wonderful opportunity to showcase that work to an audience of which I am very fond – an audience that, like Stratford’s, is accustomed to enjoying some of the finest theatre in the world.”

“We are absolutely delighted that we will be able to share this production with La Jolla Playhouse audiences,” says General Director Antoni Cimolino. “Jesus Christ Superstar has created a huge buzz in the media and the show has become one of our hottest tickets. It’s a pleasure to work with our colleagues in La Jolla to take this ‘Superstar’ on the road.”

“We are absolutely overjoyed to showcase the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s stunning revival of Jesus Christ Superstar on our stage,” says Christopher Ashley, the Artistic Director for La Jolla Playhouse. “We have been looking for an opportunity to bring Des back home to the Playhouse, and this project was perfect in every way. I can’t wait to share this critically acclaimed production of this classic rock musical with our audiences.”

Set as an epic rock concert, this sensational new production of the ground-breaking rock opera features Paul Nolan as Jesus, Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Josh Young as Judas Iscariot, Tony Award winner Brent Carver as Pontius Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod and Mike Nadajewski as Peter.

In addition to Mr. McAnuff as Director, the creative team includes Choreographer Lisa Shriver, Musical Director Rick Fox, Set Designer Robert Brill, Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, Lighting Designer Howell Binkley, Sound Designer Jim Neil, Video Designer Sean Nieuwenhuis, Dramaturge Chad Sylvain, Fight Director Daniel Levinson, Aerial Stunt Coordinator Simon Fon, Associate Choreographer Bradley “Shooz” Rapier, Associate Musical Director Laura Burton, Assistant Director Lezlie Wade and Assistant Choreographer Marc Kimelman.

Before joining the Stratford Shakespeare Festival as Artistic Director, Mr. McAnuff was Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994 and 2001 to 2007 and is now Director Emeritus. A two-time Tony Award-winning director, Mr. McAnuff received an honorary doctorate in June from his alma mater, Ryerson University in Toronto.

The Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is one of the most respected not-for-profit theatres in the U.S. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including Jersey Boys, Big River, The Who’s Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, and The Farnsworth Invention, all of which were directed by Mr. McAnuff.