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"Jason Raize, like Anderson, gave an all-around singing-acting performance as Pilate."
--Dayton Daily News review of Jesus Christ Superstar


 



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<< Akron Beacon Journal review of Jesus Christ Superstar

Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
'Superstar' Surmounts Hoarse Neeley
by Terry Morris
August 8, 1995




Richmond Times-Dispatch review of Jesus Christ Superstar >>

If you or I screamed,"Get out! Get out!" with the screeching pitch and pillar-shaking decibels Ted Neeley uses as Jesus when he discovers the temple has been invaded by purveyors of commerce in Act 1 of Jesus Christ Superstar, we wouldn't have a voice left.

Even Neeley is starting to lose his pipes. His ragged-voiced hoarseness was one of the most obvious differences between a one-night stand for an audience of 2,500 Sunday night at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering and a previous area visit by this tour, in early 1993 at Nutter Center.

Jesus is referring to his dwindling days on Earth as a religious leader when he says, "It's been three years. It feels like 30." But Neeley could have been groaning about the tour.

If he was less than his typical restrained but fiery best in a part he first played in the 1973 movie version of the '69 Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera, his longtime cohort, Carl Anderson, was reliable lightning and thunder as the betrayer Judas. From Heaven on Their Minds through Damned for All Time and all the way to Superstar, he looked and sounded the way he always has, which is like nobody else in this part. He's the best.

The show retains a musical vitality that few of Lloyd Webber's later formula blockbusters possess, and not just because they lack the distinction of Tim Rice's unique lyrics. Superstar is not about sets, effects or predictable melodies, and this aggressive production retains momentum, even though it has started to lose some of the focus of Tony Christopher's choreography.

It hasn't lost anything else that might be crucial, although Rick Belzer's flashy concert lighting lacked a good deal of its magic in the first hour due to a diluting invasion of fading August daylight. Perhaps to make up for that loss of control over nature, the amplified sound was cranked way up in the opening minutes. What's the Buzz, with Mary, the apostles and other citizens all easily covering up Jesus's raspy replies was a roar.

Maybe that's what high priest Caiaphus (the basso-wealthy Christopher P. Carey) meant when he complained, "This common crowd is much too loud."

Christine Rea was an acceptable if generic Mary Magdalene, a part that, like its ballads, invites unoriginal behavior. But Jason Raize, like Anderson, gave an all-around singing-acting performance as Pilate, a role originally played on the tour by Dennis DeYoung.

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