Jason Raize Resource

"Jason Raize was quite good as Pontius Pilate, and it was a surprise to learn in the program that he's just 19 years old."
--Akron Beacon Journal review of Jesus Christ Superstar


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<< Albany Times Union review of Jesus Christ Superstar

Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
'Superstar' Stars Still Going Strong /
Show Veterans Neeley and Anderson
Key a Fine Performance at Blossom
by Russ Musarra, Staff Writer
August 19, 1995

Someone in the crowd at Blossom Music Center on Thursday night said of Ted Neeley, "He's been playing Jesus longer than Jesus did."

Neeley has been identified with the title role in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar for more than 20 years and, according to a member of the production company, has played it more than 1,100 times. He has been touring with this production since January and the tour is said to be booked through 1997.

The company's one-night stand at Blossom on Thursday was Neeley's third performance in Northeast Ohio this year, and he'll be back in the role on Jan. 10 at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron.

Thursday's show was, well, super. The only negatives were the fact that the show didn't have a longer run and a sound system that sometimes blurred the quality of the splendid singing by the 25-member cast.

The production reunited Neeley and recording artist Carl Anderson as Judas, a role he began playing in concert versions of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice show that predated the full-scale Broadway production.

Neeley and Anderson played Jesus and Judas in the Los Angeles company of Superstar and in the 1973 film version directed by Norman Jewison.

They sang their roles Thursday as if they lived them, Neeley projecting a peaceful demeanor in juxtaposition to the passion in his voice, and Anderson exuding the anguish of a man destined to betray his friend.

Neeley's musical soliloquy in the Garden of Gethsemane and Anderson's reprise of Mary Magdalene's song, I Don't Know How to Love Him, after the betrayal were dramatic high points.

Christine Rea, as Mary Magdalene, wowed the audience with her own rendition of the song as well as Everything's Alright in the first act.

P.J. Terranova delighted the crowd with an Elvis-like portrayal of King Herod.

Jason Raize was quite good as Pontius Pilate, and it was a surprise to learn in the program that he's just 19 years old.

Other strong support came from basso Christopher Carey as Caiaphas, Anthony DiBenedetto as Peter, Rodney Dennis as Simon and Larry Alan as Annas.

Unseen but heard was a six-piece rock band directed by Jo Lynn Burks, who doubled on keyboards.

The action was played on Bill Stabile's set, which was reminiscent of any number of rock concerts and made more so by Rick Belzer's lighting and Gregg Stephens' smoky special effects. Tony Christopher directed and choreographed the show, which was produced by the Judas Company.

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