'Jesus Christ Superstar' draws huge crowd

December 03, 1996


Staff Writer

Bonnie Reed heard about the Maryland Theatre's one-night-only performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in plenty of time to reserve a seat.

Still, she counted herself lucky to get standing-room-only tickets for herself and husband Ned for the Tuesday night performance of the 1971 Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock musical, starring Ted Neely as Jesus Christ.

"I read the write-up in the newspaper, and because they said (Neely) was the original actor in the movie, then it really piqued my interest," said Reed, who said she didn't realize the high caliber of the production until she read the story in Sunday's Herald-Mail Lifestyle section. "That's why we called."


Though she'd never seen the show - based on the last seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth - or the 1973 movie version starring Neely, Reed said decided she wanted to see the performance badly enough to take the only tickets available.

"I love the music to the show anyway," said Reed, who donned sneakers for comfort during her long lean against the theater's back partition.

The Williamsport couple wasn't alone back there.

Eight other people were willing to shell out $25 for a place to stand for the performance, said Pat Wolford, theater board member.

Although the theater sells out several times a year, it's rare that it offers standing-room-only tickets, Wolford said.

However, with all 1,251 seats sold and excited people - like Reed - still calling for tickets, the theater decided to give a few people the option to stand and use the extra ticket sales to finance a post-show party, she said.

The cast and crew of Hagerstown Junior College's upcoming production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" were invited, Wolford said.

But the young thespians didn't receive any special treatment before the show, when all but the earliest ticket holders faced a line that stretched north on South Potomac Street, around the Public Square, then west on West Washington Street.

The chilly wait didn't quell their zeal, however. Standing in line with other cast and crew members from the HJC production, 18-year-old freshman Jennifer Gardner said she was doubly excited for the opportunity to see another production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and meet the professional cast.

"I think it's great just to see the difference between theirs and ours, how it's staged," said sophomore Maria Malejko, 20, stage manager of the HJC production. "Ours is going to be a lot different."

The fact that the Maryland Theatre performance sold out has probably helped ticket sales for the three performances of the HJC production, which was planned long before the tour's booking, Malejko said.

It had been more than 20 years since Cindy Paradise saw the show twice in Houston, Texas, during its first Broadway tour.

But when she heard it was coming to Hagerstown with Neely in the title role, the Sharpsburg resident said she couldn't pass up seeing it a third time.

"I liked it a lot. I wanted to see it again," said Paradise, who came with her husband, Richard, and in-laws Ed and Ginny Paradise of Hagerstown. "I like the music. I like it that Jesus was human and had frailties. I just like the whole play."

  • The Hagerstown Junior College Robinwood Players will present "Jesus Christ Superstar" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Kepler Theater on the HJC campus. Tickets are $4. For information, call 790-2800, ext. 337.
The Herald-Mail Articles