There are times when a cast fits together so tightly that once all the various parts come together, the show appears to be seamless. That seemed to happen with this show.
Jesus Christ Superstar was my first show with the Players, and it went well enough that we were asked to take the whole show to Sarnia to compete in the Eastern Ontario competition for best show that year. I remember Val [Russell] and I going over to the producer Ron Swallow’s house to convince him that it would be a good idea to take Superstar on the road. The set, costumes, lighting, sound, orchestra, backstage and frontstage all committed to this.
Something else that was memorable is that we had people outside the Capitol protesting because we were performing Superstar: that turned out to be great publicity and the show sold out.
More than anything, I remember the energy of that show: Judas (Dan Kapp) singing Heaven On Their Minds, Mary Magdelene (Diana Cohen), and Apostle Peter (Derrick Cunningham) singing Could We Start Again Please, the 12 apostles following Jesus around singing and whining, and Jesus yelling “Heal Yourselves!”. The beggars, and the lepers, and the Romans—costumes by Suzanne Mess textured and layered, everyone moving and singing as Pilate (Paul Caldwell) condemns Christ to death.
I will never forget the final scene with Jesus (Don Mitchell) on the cross, orchestra playing. That was the end of the show. The audience left quietly, at the end of the final scene—no bows, no applause, the audience completely in sync with the cast and the story.
At the cast party, the kids in the show (all 11 and 12 years old) had made up lyrics to the end of the tune “The Temple”.
Conor Borowec, Brendan Macdonald, Claire Russell, and Elly McCall sang for us:
Claire: See my mom she swears too much
Connor: See our age were only twelve
Brendan: We are very rarely seen
Elly: We are only in 3 scenes.
Claire: We have rehearsal every night
Connor: We stay up till past midnight
Brendan: Jesus Christ we're only twelve
Elly: Even though we still buy drugs.
All: Mark has girls' shirts and who knows what
Cameron wears snakes for his clothes
Dan kisses Don way too much
Don’t you think something's wrong with that.
Simon try to get through your song.
Hide the overture from the kids
The Rock Horror Picture scene
Is scaring us in all our dreams.
All the priests are scaring us
Val attends to make a fuss
Scrimger is the King of Jews
He has lost too many screws.
Hookers please step back a bit
We can hardly hear the pit
God, this play is very strong
Rev. Cranston is very wrong!
The last line is the only one I remembered, but Ron Swallow (Producer) had kept a scrapbook of the show and the lyrics were in it. It still makes me laugh.