August 15, 2011

If Grapes of Wrath was too big a story for the Avon, Jesus Christ Superstar was made for the stage, and this was far and away the best production I’ve seen (Andrew Lloyd Webber has said it’s the best-acted he’s seen, which is very impressive).

We were all thrilled by the set, lighting, and costume design. A point of discussion afterwards was having Judas in blue (his blue suit during “Jesus Christ Superstar”, together with Josh Young’s delivery, was fantastic!). We assumed that since this story shows Judas as trying to be faithful to the cause he thinks he knows, that his blue was for fidelity.

Paul Nolan and Chilina Kennedy were both very strong as Jesus and Mary Magdelene. Brent Carver (Pilate) and Bruce Dow (Herod) made huge impact in very short time.

Niagara boy Lee Siegel played Simon Zealotes–what a joy to hear that big voice again!

The whole production: incredible well-designed, well-acted, well-sung. Astonishing to see in person.

August 15, 2011

A few weeks ago we went to see Grapes of Wrath at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which has been getting good reviews this season. We all agreed–an excellent production and some very good acting (especially from Janet Wright as Ma and Tom McCamus as Casy), but somehow some of the truth got wrung out of the story when it got shrunk to 2.5 hours. It means less if you don’t feel the length and breadth of what the Joads do. And I found it led to many of the characters working more as types than as people. Very good to see, but less to feel.