Photo by Theo Tate
"Jesus Christ Superstar" will have three shows at the Alfresco Art Center in mid-August.
GRANITE CITY — Forty-five years ago, “Jesus Christ Superstar” debuted as a rock opera before turning into one of the biggest Broadway productions of all time.
This summer, “Jesus Christ Superstar” will be coming to the Alfresco Art Center.
Three shows of the Broadway musical will be played Aug. 14-16 and each of them will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $12 and can be purchased by calling (844) 248-9780 or going online at www.alfrescoproductions.org.
“We’re really looking forward to this production,” director Lisa Garcia Fensterman said. Her daughter, Camille, is the assistant director.
Also in August, the center will be having auditions for “The Mousetrap,” an Agatha Christie thriller that is the longest-running play in history. Auditions are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 22. Performance dates are scheduled for Nov. 20-22.
“That’s part of our program that we do diverse programming because ‘Mousetrap’ is a non-musical, so that gives our non-musical people who want a chance to be on stage,” Fensterman said. “If they don’t sing and if they don’t dance, they’ll still have an opportunity to come be on stage and be a part of us.”
The center also will host its fifth annual Blue Collar Blues and BBQ Festival at noon Aug. 29 at Civic Park here. Anyone interested in participating can call (618) 604-6739.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” loosely based on the accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, will be the seventh play at the center this year. Two months ago, “Avenue Q,” which won Tony awards for best musical, best score and best book, was played at the center.
“One of the things that we do here at Alfresco is we try to have a diverse program throughout the year so that ‘Avenue Q’ was more of a contemporary and adult-themed show, where ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is more family-oriented,” Fensterman said. “So we might have audience members who weren’t interested in ‘Avenue Q’ looking forward to ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’”
David Mendoza, Paul Kruda, Sarah Dowling, Mark Lull, Dennis Mahling, Gary Grandidier, Dan McGee, Eric Reed and Jeffrey Bennett are the among the actors in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Rehearsals began in June.
“On our ensemble, we have a lot of Granite City people and this is a large cast,” Fensterman said. “Our reservations are really coming in. We probably are going to sell out for all three performances because when you have a lot of your own city people, they have a lot of friends and family who want to come see them, so we have a lot of people looking forward to the production.”
Mendoza, a former Granite City resident who lives in Collinsville, will play Jesus. Mendoza is the lead singer of Casanova Quartet.
“This is his first time doing an Alfresco production, but this is his second time playing Jesus in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’” Fensterman said. “He did it 20 years ago.”
Kruda, who is from Collinsville, will play Judas, who is one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and is concerned for the poor and the consequences of Jesus’ fame.
“This is his first time doing an Alfresco production, but he did the role of Judas with another theater company several years ago,” Fensterman said.
Dowling, who is from St. Louis, will play Mary Magdalene, who finds herself falling in love with Jesus. She played in “Avenue Q” two months ago.
Mahling, who is also from St. Louis, will play Pontius Pilate, who is the Governor of Judea who foresees the events of Jesus’ crucifixion from beginning to end in a dream and finds himself being presented with that same situation.
Grandidier, of Granite City, will play Caiaphas, a high priest who sees Jesus as a threat to the nation. McGee, also a Granite City resident, will play Annas, a priest who is persuaded by Caiaphas to see Jesus as a threat.
A pair of Belleville residents, Eric Reed and Jeffrey Bennett, will play Simon and Peter, respectively. Simon and Peter are among Jesus’ 12 apostles.
Lull, principal at Maryville Elementary School, will play King Herod. Herod is the king of Galilee and Jesus is brought to him for judgment.
For information and to purchase tickets, visit www.alfrescoproductions.org.