Director Brad Kisner celebrates as the cast for "Jesus Christ Superstar" excels at the musical direction of assistant director Chris Hasson (background). | Erin Gallagher/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2014 2:08AM
“Jesus” lives in New Lenox and wears Crocs. “Pontius Pilate” teaches choir at Lincoln-Way Central.
At least that’s true of the actors playing those characters in an upcoming production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” featuring a modern take on a Biblical story.
The Lincoln-Way Area Summer Stock Theatre and Rotary Club of New Lenox are presenting the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera later this month at Lincoln-Way West High School.
Based on Christ’s passion, this production is set in the modern era, said director Brad Kisner, who also plays Herod.
“The time frame is generic to show that this story could happen at every time,” Kisner said.
Summer Stock Theatre is a professional troupe, with paid performers.
John Hillman, cast as Jesus, was inspired as a child by the original recording of the title song by Ian Gillan, Deep Purple’s lead singer.
“We enjoyed the music then,” said Hillman, who listened to the album with his brother. “It meant a lot to me. I used to listen to it in my headphones.”
Hillman has performed the role three other times. With this production, though, he brings some different perspectives, he said, especially with the modern twist.
“It’s an interesting way to tell the story,” Hillman said.
Another modern interpretation comes from actress Jamie Szynal, who plays Mary Magdalene. She put her master’s degree in music theatre from the Royal Conservatory of Scotland to good use when she explored what characteristics the harlot-turned-saint would have if she lived today.
The cast of 39 is a confluence of talent. Mike Bultman, who teaches choir at Lincoln-Way Central, is Pontius Pilate. Steve Cannon, who plays the priest, Annas, is also from New Lenox. The music director, Pamela Putrich, is from Manhattan as are several of the cast members.
Two of the soul sisters work with Providence High School. Janlyn Ault is the music director there, and Rosie Knezz is a choreographer for the school’s musicals, according to Kevin Molloy, executive director.
“A majority of the cast is local,” Molloy said.
Other performers include Mark Jacobson as Juds; Sean Rhead as Caiaphas; Jerry Sander, Kevin O’Sullivan and Stephan Miller,as priests; and Steven Beemsterboer as the apostle. The other soul sisters are Mimi Pahis, Lauren Laverdiere, Amanda Mularz, Katie Arwood, Aubree Tally, Rebecca Young and Nancy Burke.
Mike Knezz and Vicky Burns are the producers. Jodi Ann Kasky is the choreographer.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. July 18, 19 and 26; and 2 p.m. July 20 and 27, all at the Lincoln-Way West High School Fine Arts Center, 21701 Gougar Road, New Lenox.
Tickets are $20 and $25 and can be bought by visiting
www.nlrjesuschristsuperstar.com or by calling (708) 339-1883.