Try not to get worried and let Theo Ubique's up-close JCS move your soul.
Hosanna, Heysanna, Sanna-Sanna-Ho—let’s acknowledge up front that for all the glory of its concept-album score (still among the few of Lloyd Webber’s I can not just stomach but genuinely love), it’s difficult to Sanna-Sanna-Stage Jesus Christ Superstar without wrestling with its inherent kitsch. Theo Ubique’s new production manages it surprisingly well, largely by dint of adapting the arena-rock stagecraft down to the No Exit Café’s tight constraints; the actors manage their performances, here including Danni Smith’s beautifully empathetic Mary and Max DeTogne’s clarion-voiced Jesus, without the assistance of body mics.
Donterrio Johnson’s Judas is still on the arch side—though nowhere near as over-the-top as Tommy Bullington’s Herod, apparently descended from Elton, Liza and Ethel. But the opportunity to hear this enduring “rock” score rendered mostly sans amplification by a musically rich cast and Jeremy Ramey’s tight band is a praiseworthy development indeed.
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Directed by Fred Anzevino. With Max DeTogne, Donterrio Johnson, Danni Smith. Running time: 2hrs; one intermission.