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Top NZ Musicians to Star In Jesus Christ Superstar

Top NZ Musicians to Star In
Auckland Theatre Company's
Jesus Christ Superstar

Three top New Zealand musicians and an international musical theatre performer will star in Auckland Theatre Company's (ATC) Kensington Swan season of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Directed by Oliver Driver, the Kensington Swan season of Jesus Christ Superstar is at Q Theatre from 30 October to 23 November.

New Zealand performer Kristian Lavercombe will play Jesus alongside highly-regarded singers Julia Deans (Fur Patrol, The Adults) as Mary, Laughton Kora (Kora) as Judas and Jeremy Redmore (Midnight Youth) as Simon.

"We're delighted to have secured such fantastic talent for these four pivotal roles," ATC artistic director Colin McColl said.

"Julia, Laughton and Jeremy are hugely popular New Zealand singers in their respective genres and musicians who will bring an enormous amount of experience to the stage. Musical theatre wunderkind Kristian Lavercombe has been performing in the UK and Australia and we are thrilled he is available to come back to New Zealand for Jesus Christ Superstar."

Kristian last performed with ATC in the 2008 production of Spelling Bee and since then has been based in London and performing internationally, most recently spending the past two years playing Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show in the UK and Australia, when he came close to notching up his 1000th performance. The show is currently on a break.

"The timing is perfect," Lavercombe said. "And it's great to be coming home to play this role."

Kristian, who grew up in Nelson and is a graduate of Christchurch's National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) said the role of Jesus was going to be vastly different to playing Riff Raff.

"I will approach it in a similar way. I like the idea of completely morphing into character - I like to look in the mirror and not see Kristian," he said.

Best known as a singer-songwriter, and recently for her role in Brel and as a solo cabaret performer, Julia Deans admits she's stepping into unfamiliar territory to take up the role of Mary.

"I am really looking forward to this - I haven't sung in a musical since I was in Bugsy Maloneat school. I've loved the music from Jesus Christ Superstar since I was young and have been enjoying doing more theatre in recent years, so this will be a nice step sideways for me."

Former Midnight Youth frontman Jeremy Redmore said he was looking forward to the challenge of being in his first musical since high school.

"That first day of rehearsals will probably feel like my first day of school all over again," he said.

Jeremy, whose debut solo album 'Clouds Are Alive' recently entered the NZ Top 40 at number 6, said performing in Jesus Christ Superstar will be "a totally different world.

"I'll be part of a team and taking direction, rather being my own writer and director, though my passion lies in singing and performing so this is an exciting new way of expressing that for me."

Well-known as one of the four Kora brothers in the family band, Laughton Kora isn't new to musical theatre. He performed in Return to the Forbidden Planet in 2000 in Queenstown, before being offered a role in the Melbourne-based production of The Lion King.

"I had to turn down The Lion King. It was a hard choice to make back then, but Kora was just getting off the ground and I needed to commit to the band. Playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar is going to be fantastic - I'm very much looking forward to it."

With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar is the most famous rock opera of all time. Loosely based on the Gospel's account of the last week in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, it begins with his arrival into Jerusalem and ends with the Crucifixion. Here, the myth is stripped from the man to reveal an all-too-human soul - troubled and doubting, the fickle nature of those closest to him, the whims of those who judge him, the heartache of a woman who loves him and the motives of the man who ultimately betrays him.

First staged on Broadway in 1971, Jesus Christ Superstar is an immortal of musical theatre. Audiences around the globe have thrilled to its unforgettable soundtrack with songs including Everything's Alright, I Don't Know How to Love Him and the iconic signature tune.

Auckland Theatre Company is bringing Jesus Christ Superstar into the present with a contemporary, urban, 21st Century re-staging. The Kensington Swan season of Jesus Christ Superstar rounds off ATC's stellar 2014 season, playing in the same spot as last year's sell out and three times extended Chicago.


Jesus Christ - Kristian Lavercombe
Mary Magdalene - Julia Deans
Judas Iscariot - Laughton Kora
Simon Zealotes - Jeremy Redmore

Director - Oliver Driver
Musical Director - Leon Radojkovic
Set Designer - John Verryt
Lighting Designer - Sean Lynch
Movement Director - Lara Fischel-Chrisholm

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