This fall, in 2014, Near West Theatre will be between homes. We left the St. Patrick’s Club Building in June, and our new theater in the Gordon Square Arts District is not quite completed. But we’re still doing shows! We are thrilled to announce an explosive production of one of the most popular musicals of all time, Jesus Christ Superstar, presented in the historic West Side United Church of Christ, located at – well, at West 38th Street and Bridge Avenue, Cleveland. Does that sound familiar? It should! It’s literally across the streetfrom our old St. Pat’s home of 3 ½ decades. For three weekends in November and December, and for rehearsals all fall, the people of West Side UCC are opening their beautiful sanctuary to Near West Theatre. We will transform this space of stained glass and intricate wood carving into a theatrical rock venue.
Jesus Christ Superstar, the king of rock operas, was created at the end of the turbulent 1960s with a social and political rebel at its center. Jesus’ meteoric rise to fame provides, as the title suggests, a parallel to contemporary celebrity worship. Judas sings, “If you strip away the myth from the man, you can see where we all soon will be,” prophesying centuries of controversy that would surround this one man, his life and his identity. Propelled by a stirring score that is driving and majestic, satirical and tender, JCS illuminates the transcendent power of the human spirit. This show startles the mind with its relevance and social implications.
It’s sure to sell out! Our production will feature a large cast of children, teens and adults. Experience the convergence of lead guitar, pipe organ, pews, passion, percussion and provocation. Grab a friend and come audition right after Labor Day. I hope to see you there!
One question we’ve been hearing is this: If your new theater won’t be ready till 2015, why didn’t you stay at St. Pat’s longer? The answer: We chose June for our last show at St. Pat’s to give our technical crew needed time between the dismantling of our old space and the move into our new building. If our fall show were at St. Pat’s, we wouldn’t be ready as soon as our Gordon Square theater becomes available. West Side UCC is a wonderful interim site: familiar to our community from past projects, available for rehearsals, and with a large gathering space where we can perform a stunning Superstar with reduced theatrical equipment. — Bob Navis Jr.
Jesus Christ Superstar Audition and Production Schedules
Auditions: Tuesday, Sept. 2, Wednesday, Sept. 3, and Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at West Side United Church of Christ, 3800 Bridge Ave. (corner of West 38th Street and Bridge Avenue), in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.
- Ages 7 to 13: 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- Ages 14 through adult: 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.
As always, our auditions will be conducted in a relaxed, friendly, group-oriented atmosphere. No preparation or experience is required. Dress for movement. Arrive 15 minutes early to register.
Performances: Nov. 21 through Dec. 7, 2014. Sunday performances are at 7 p.m., except for the possibility of a matinee on Nov. 23, to be announced. [UPDATE as of Oct. 14: There will be no Nov. 23 performance, and the Dec. 4 performance will be interpreted in American Sign Language.]
- Friday, Nov. 21 – 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 22 – 7:30 p.m.
- (No performance Thanksgiving Day)
- Friday, Nov. 28 – 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 29 – 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 30 – 7:00 p.m.
- Thursday, Dec. 4 – 7:30 p.m. (interpreted in American Sign Lanaguage)
- Friday, Dec. 5 – 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 6 – 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 7 – 7:00 p.m.
Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.