Hailed as “wonderful” by one reviewer and “impeccable” by another, five performances were held in the school’s Hayward Theatre, tickets for which sold out within a matter of days.
More than 50 King’s Ely Senior students took part in the production, including not just the young actors and actresses but those backstage too in sound, lighting, make-up and costume. Everything from the set construction to the cross design, and the lighting to the make-up involved current students, Old Eleans, staff, former staff or friends of the school.
The production was directed by Nick Huntington, musically directed by Peter North and choreographed by Natasha Hobbs, all under the banner of the King’s Company, which has been producing a school musical every year for the last decade.
With music by Grammy and Academy award-winner, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics by Oscar winner, Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of the final days of Jesus Christ’s life. It is told primarily by Judas Iscariot, the disciple who ultimately betrays Jesus, through the heavy use of 1970’s slang.
In the King’s Company production, the role of Jesus Christ was shared by John-Paul Gilbey and Charlie Watson. Mary Magdalene was played by Francesca Bisson and Judas Iscariot was played by Alex Layfield.
Director of Drama at King’s Ely, Nick Huntington, said: “This is not the first time that King’s Company has tackled Jesus Christ Superstar. Back in 2008, Director of Performance Studies, Adella Charlton, had the idea of creating King’s Company, the school’s production company name for all things drama, dance and musical theatre. As the actor-in-residence back then, Jesus Christ Superstar was my first full production at the school, and the first production under the King’s Company banner. I was thrilled to work on a project that involved such a great cast and crew, and 10 years later it seemed very fitting to produce and direct the show again. The Jesus Christ Superstar cast were very lucky to have such a fantastic creative team of teachers and students supporting them, and the creatives were lucky to have such a superbly talented cast to support. As ever, we do not go for easy choices and Jesus Christ Superstar is no exception.”