We at Near West Theatre have cautioned that Jesus Christ Superstar contains intense scenes that may be disturbing to young children. Here is more information for those deciding whether their young people should be in the audience.
The show focuses on Jesus of Nazareth and the crowds and characters who surround him in the last seven days of his life. In Christian scriptures and in this rock opera, violence is part of the story: not only mocking, ridicule and verbal abuse, but also arrest, physical beating and ultimately execution and death. Near West Theatre’s version of Jesus Christ Superstar portrays this violence without visible blood or gore, but nonetheless just as fully and passionately as all other moods and aspects of the story. Like all parts of the show, the violent ones are supported and intensified by lighting, sound, video and other special effects (including a loud and realistic gunshot) and an energetic rock score played by a live, amplified band.
It is not a story without hope. Love, support, beauty and deep humanity are all part of Jesus Christ Superstar as well. Children as young as 7 years old are part of our cast, but we have spent significant time over a two-month period of community-building and rehearsals helping them understand the story and the reasons for what they are portraying. Is the show appropriate for your children? We leave that decision to you, the adults in their lives. For those wishing to do internet research, we recommend topics such as the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, and power and execution in the Roman Empire.
Tickets are $20 for a reserved Star Seat that helps support the theater’s art and mission, $10 for adult general admission, and $8 for children’s general admission (ages 12 and under). They are available online anytime; by phone at 216-961-6391 weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or by coming to our business office, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9, during those hours. Any tickets not sold in advance are available at the performance site, West Side United Church of Christ, 3800 Bridge Ave., starting one hour before each performance. — Hans Holznagel
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.
Near West Theatre’s community theater production of
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Lyrics by Tim Rice Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber