Jesus Christ Superstar May 2, 3 and 4

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HOPKINTON, MA. -- It’s been 40 years since JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR first hit the big screen, but the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical has morphed from a controversial Broadway show to a time-tested classic. Always one step ahead in the drama scene, the Drama Club of Hopkinton Middle School will perform the beloved musical with a live orchestra May 2, 3 and 4 at the middle school auditorium, 88 Hayden Rowe St., Hopkinton.

The 70 students in the cast have been rehearsing since February, Director Hallyann Gifford said this week. It’s the first time Hopkinton Middle students have performed a show that is sung completely, she said. Like the school’s acclaimed fall show, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, this rock opera is about faith and hope in the face of oppression and evil, Gifford said. “Together, they create a theme for this whole year: faith, hope and love. I think they complement each other well.” Gifford, who once portrayed Mary Magdalene, “I’ve always loved the show. It’s an incredibly powerful piece that manages to put electricity into an ancient but timeless story.”

Although Jesus Christ Superstar is about the central figure of Christianity, the show has been performed before in public schools, as it emphasizes historical events, not religion, Gifford said. “It’s documenting one of the greatest stories in human history and the life of someone pretty much everyone on the planet has heard of, whether or not they are Christian. It’s part of our shared human experience,” she said. “Thematically, I am hoping that they (the cast and crew) learn about the struggles that these characters faced and how they each reacted to the situations at hand, and how the choices they made influenced not only what happened but what happened then inside each person: the choice Jesus makes to sacrifice himself, the choice Judas makes to betray him, the choice Mary Magdalene makes to stand by him, and all the choices the others make for their own. Ultimately these people as a group made the choice to stand up against a larger oppression -- and to begin a new way of thinking, a new way of living, and all of it based not on hate, but on love,” Gifford said. The show will last approximately two and one-half hours, with intermission. Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, email at hgifford@hopkinton.k12.ma.us, or contact parent volunteer Jennifer Graham at (202) 277-9256 or email Jennifer@jennifergraham.com.