Jesus Christ Superstar

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Many of us will remember when Jesus Christ Superstar toured Australia, sharing the tale of Judas and Jesus via celebrities Tim Minchin, Mel Chisolm and numerous others. This time around the show will be recreated and performed closer to home with a mostly Geelong based cast, aside from a few talented dancers who have braved the long drive from Colac.
Playing Judas in the Geelong show is Grant Whiteside, and aside from working in software development, playing cricket and being one of the band members of the Glitter Gang, Grant makes time for a few shows on the side.
On top of all that Grant is also the treasurer of the Geelong Lyric Theatre Society, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary with the Jesus Christ Superstar show.
“We’ve had a good year so far and it was a really successful show, so I thought now we’ve got a chance to get on board. It’s for the 40th anniversary, at one stage we didn’t really know what we were going to do this year so Jesus Christ Superstar seemed like a good fit,” Grant says.
“Being an October show it’s before cricket and it seemed like a good time for me to get back on stage. It’s pretty exciting actually to be involved in such a landmark production.”
Much like the British arena production, Geelong’s version of the show will put a modern twist to the classic, whilst maintaining the original music and script.
“The whole show there’s references back to biblical times. But it’s a more modern take of the time,” he says.
For those unfamiliar with the story it follows the tale of when Judas persecuted and betrayed Jesus, though in the show Judas gets a bit of a break and is seen to believe that his betrayal of Jesus was all part of the “master plan”.
One of the greatest additions that the Geelong show brings is the 11-piece orchestra that will perform live on the night and the unique lighting design on stage.
These aspects of the show are enhanced by the stellar cast that have all well and truly earned their roles on stage. The company has tried to keep local, and in honour of their anniversary have even tried to get past members to perform.
“For the 40th anniversary we really tried to incite past lyric members who had been involved before. We’ve got Derek Hindles who’s the past president and did invite a lot of other people that weren’t involved in lyric shows in the past few years. So it really became a big 40th anniversary celebration,” Grant says.
If it weren’t for Grant’s wife some years ago who first got him into theatre shows, she landed him an audition in the show Brigadoon, then he wouldn’t be playing his biggest role to date, Judas Iscariot.
After years of experience Grant is excited to be doing the part and while he mightn’t have been an actor/performer from day one, is confident in delivering the story to the audience.
“It’s all about making people believe that you’re that character and you’re in that time and place. You can overdo it and you can underdo it, and you’ve really got to find that right space,” Grant says.
“The direction has been really good, and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a great bunch of people in the show. It’s a very happy coercive cast.”
When&Where: Playhouse Theatre, GPAC – October 3-11
By Amanda Sherring