"Jesus Christ Superstar" - by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber - Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts (Worcester, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of the 50th Anniversary Tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through April 30, 2023. Photo Credit Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

"The end is just a little harder, when brought about by friends."  

                                                               - Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts


Andrew Lloyd Webber's


Book, Music & Lyrics by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

Directed by Timothy Sheader 

Choreographer Drew McOnie

Music Supervision by David Holcenberg

Music Direction/Conductor Mark Binns

Cast Includes: Jack Hopewell – Jesus; Elvie Ellis – Judas; Faith Jones – Mary; Nicholas Hambruch – Pilate; Grant Hodges – Caiaphas; Kodiak Thompson – Annas; Brett Hennessey Jones - Ensemble, Simon; Erich W. Schleck - Ensemble, Herod; Colin Robertson - Ensemble, Peter; Ethan Hardy Benson - Ensemble, First Priest, Peter Accuser; Cooper Clack – Ensemble; Jordan Wesley Brown – Ensemble; Joshua Bess - Ensemble, Onstage Standby; Jahlil M. Burke - Ensemble, Third Priest; Hosea Mundi - Ensemble, Second Priest, Peter Accuser; Kalei Cotecson – Ensemble; Emma Cook - Ensemble, Mob Leader; Savannah Fisher - Ensemble, Soul Singer; Domanick Anton Hubbard – Ensemble; Lydia Eku - Ensemble, Soul; L’oréal Roaché - Ensemble, Soul Singer, Peter Accuser; Lena Matthews - Ensemble, Onstage Swing; Haley Huelsman – Ensemble; Darren James Robinson - Swing, Fight Captain; Jeremy Makana Hurr - Swing, Co-Dance Captain; Lauren Soto - Swing, Co-Dance Captain. (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)  

Additional Creative Team:

Work Light Productions Producer - Nancy Gabriel; General Manager - Courtney King; Management Team: Aniele Fortin, David Moore, Carolyn Smith, Noelle Hedgcock, Theron Cromer, Matt Kunkel; Costume Design - Tom Scutt; Original Music Supervision - Tom Deering; Lighting Design - Lee Curran; Sound Design - Keith Caggiano; Casting: Wojcik Casting Team; Technical Supervision - Port City Technical;  Production Stage Manager - Matthew Brooks; Assistant Stage Manager - Nia J. Blizzard; Company Manager - Michael Coglan; Assistant Company Manager/CSM - Jordan McKey; Co-Dance Captains - Jeremy Makana Hurr Lauren Soto; Associate Director - Brian Harlan Brooks; Assistant Music Supervisor - Matt Croft; Fight Direction - Rick Sordelet, Christian Kelly-Sordelet; Fight Captain - Darren James Robinson; Associate Scenic Designers - David Arsenault, David Allen; Associate Costume Designer - Cat Lovejoy; Stitcher - Sara Brookes; Associate Hair/Make-Up Designer - Adrienne T. Maurer; Associate Lighting Designer - Ryan O'Gara; Assistant Lighting Designer - Samantha Weiser; Lighting Programmer - Jackson Miller; Production Carpenter - Tom Klonowski; Head Carpenter – Will Klein; Assistant Carpenter/Fly – Sam Vettrus; Swing Tech – Chad Fenimore; Advance Electrician – Diana Duecker; Head Electrician – Michael Smith; Production Audio – David Allen; Head Audio – Ethan Carleton; Assistant Audio – Nate Brooks; Production Props – John Mark Zink; Head Props – Nic Duffy; Advance Wardrobe – Tiffany West; Head Wardrobe – Allison Hearn; Head Hair and Makeup – Yulitzin Alvarez; Vocal Consultant – Chris York; Keyboard Programmers – Ethan Deppe, Taylor J. Williams; Music Copier – Matt Croft; Production Assistant – Kayla Uribe; Physical Therapy – Neutro Tour; Production Photography – Evan Zimmerman;  Production B-Roll – HMS Media; Casting – Wojcik Casting Team; Legal Counsel – Levine Plotkin Menin, LLP; Tour Booking, Marketing and Publicity Direction – Bond Theatrical. By Arrangement with the Really Useful Group Limited. (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)  


April 27, 2023 at 7:30pm

April 28 & 29, 2023 at 8:00pm

April 29, 2023 at 2:00pm

April 30, 2023 at 1:00pm and 6:30pm 

Presented at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 

For More Information:  

877-571-SHOW (7469) 



(Warning: The following review may contain spoilers) 

"What's the Buzz - tell me what's a-happening"

The Hanover Theatre in Worcester concludes their 2022-2023 Broadway Series with the 50th Anniversary Tour of "stadium rock" classic “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR” the iconic musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Loosely based on the Gospels' recounting of the "Passion," the rock opera interprets the mindset of Jesus (Jack Hopewell) and other characters from the Bible.

The inspiration for the staged musical adaptation first came in 1970 from a highly successful concept album.

The musical adaptation of the story provides a more modern "feel" in its depiction of the social and political events surrounding the threat posed by increasing public popularity and a prevailing "buzz" created by the emergence of a reported "Son of God."

The staged musical premiered on Broadway in 1971 becoming, at the time, one the most highly successful musicals of all time. 

The initial Broadway run ended in 1973 after over 700 performances and was ultimately nominated for (but did not win) five Tony Awards, including one for Best Score

Andrew Lloyd Webber would win a Drama Desk Award as "Most Promising Composer."

(Yeah, sure...but what has he done since?)

This latest touring adaptation is directed by Timothy Sheader featuring superbly crafted, mind-blowing staging and well-executed adrenaline-infused choreography from Drew McOnie.

But why IS the musical still so relevant even after half a century? 

It could be argued, even by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, that he and partner Tim Rice had some relatively good "source material" from which to start working.

(Photo: Jack Hopewell appears in the title role of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through April 30, 2023. Photo Credit Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

"What's the Buzz - tell me what's a-happening"

Culminating in the crucifixion of Jesus, much of the musical focuses on his earlier betrayal by Judas (Elvie Ellis).

First and foremost, as Judas and Jesus, both Ellis and Hopewell are complete rock stars and never falter in intensity in their respective performances. 

In fact, the entire ensemble, supported by a flawless house band, are fiercely provocative and engaging.

All the familiar songs from the 50 year-old musical are here but seem as fresh and as new as the first time you might have heard them: "Everything's All Right," "Hosanna," "The Crucifixion" and, of course, "Superstar.

Other noteworthy vocal performances come from Nicholas Hambruch as "Pilate," Grant Hodges as "Caiaphas" and Kodiak Thompson as "Annas."

(Photo: Elvie Ellis and the CAST of the 50th Anniversary Tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through April 30, 2023. Photo Credit Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

"What's the Buzz - tell me what's a-happening"

All throughout the 90 minute Rice-Webber collaborative interpretation of the Biblical story, the focus on Judas appears to try and show him as closest friend and confident to Jesus. 

We begin at a turning point as Judas sings to us his grim concerns about Jesus

"You have set them all on fire - they think they've found the new Messiah...and they'll hurt you when they find out they're wrong."

Judas' character (again, in the musical's interpretation) has been serving, not only as "treasurer" to the disciples of Jesus, but also as a kind of watchful "brother" to Jesus. 

However, coming into play for Judas is an increasing jealously - especially when it appears to him that Jesus is "involved" with disciple Mary Magdalene (Faith Jones) a woman who the envious Judas sees as a catastrophic threat. 

Jones tender rendition of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was a mid-show highlight, to be sure.

Judas questions just where Jesus is leading his disciples and, by the end of the show, Judas's "brotherly" concern quickly turns him into a "Cain" to Jesus' "Abel."

Judas seems to function in "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" as a caution that when anyone allows envy, the love of their own rights, ambitions and agenda, to become more important than the mission of God, they betray Jesus himself.

Yet, in this version of events, it is Jesus who knows Judas has conspired to betray him to the authorities and seems to invite the betrayal so that Jesus may become "freed" from his physical body and, thus, is able to fulfill his destiny of saving humanity. 

(Photo: The CAST of the 50th Anniversary Tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through April 30, 2023. Photo Credit Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

"What's the Buzz - tell me what's a-happening"

One does not necessarily need to be a practicing Christian in order to believe in the powerful storytelling (if not the "greatest story ever told") presented here.

Yet, there are three things some folks will need to understand in order to best enjoy "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR:"

First - If anyone has an aversion to crucifixions, this is definitely NOT the show for you. 

In all seriousness, while "recounted" creatively, the depiction may be far too graphic, intense or even "triggering" for some...and (spoiler alert!) the "Graduate"-style ending to the show may have some totally confounded.

Second - While the show features 90 "rock solid" minutes of exciting staging, a fantastic set design, a killer back-up band and electrifying "stadium rock" caliber vocal performances, this IS still, essentially, a "concert" version of the musical - or, at least, it will be perceived as such by many.

Some may prefer a fully staged adaptation to a concert staging, especially this one that uses an inordinate amount of microphones and microphone stands.

That said, the level of musicianship, especially among the cast who join in playing on assorted instruments, is consummate.

Finally - The sweats. Yes, the sweats. You're going to need to overlook the sweats worn by the cast at the outset. 

Yes, the costuming may seem a bit slovenly - it might give the impression this musical broke out in the middle of a gym class - Soon after, though, you will not give a single damn because the rest of the show simply sizzles.

"JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" continues at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester through April 30th and, without question, this was a wonderful way to close out the season as we anticipate the 2023-2024 Broadway Series beginning in November with "PRETTY WOMAN - THE MUSICAL."

Approximately 95 minutes with no intermission.

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)



(Photo: Image from the musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. from April 27 through April 30 2023. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)


Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, a new mesmerizing production of the iconic musical phenomenon "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" returns to the stage. 

Originally staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and helmed by the acclaimed director Timothy Sheader ("Crazy for You," "Into the Woods") and cutting-edge choreographer Drew McOnie ("King Kong," "Strictly Ballroom"), this production won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revivagarnering unprecedented reviews and accolades.

Appealing to both theater audiences and concert music fans, this production pays tribute to the historic 1971 Billboard Album of the Year while creating a modern, theatrical world that is uniquely fresh and inspiring. 

With lyrics and music by Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and Tony®  winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas.

Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane" and "Superstar." 

Nominated for a multitude of awards, the musical "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" has had a successful running for over five decades. 

With its uplifting and captivating songs, this production has recently celebrated its 50th year Anniversary and continues to enchant audiences all over the world with its mesmerizing production and uplifting sounds. 

Come see for yourself why "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" pays tribute to an extraordinary series of events in an incredibly theatrical manner. 

This spring, The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory welcomes the amazing rock-concert vibe of "JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR" with shows taking place from April 27th through April 30th. 

Bring your friends, bring your family, and take advantage of the Theatre’s group discount. 

This is a show you do not want to miss!

Audio Description services available at the Sunday, April 30 matinee performance, 1 pm
ASL available at the Sunday, April 30 evening performance, 6:30 pm (If you are using ASL services, please let the ticket office know when you are ready to purchase tickets, so we can place you in seats in front of the ASL interpreter.) 

Tickets are $39, $49, $69 and $89 depending on seat location. Please contact the box office at 877.571.SHOW (7469) for more information.


Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allow