Boston Rock Opera Presents "Jesus Christ Superstar"
11-9-2000 at Mass. College of Art
Live Music Review by Matt Robinson
Amid spare, industrial staging, an undulating mob of varied musical and theatrical talent tells the story of Christ's last week on earth. Led by the powerful performance of resurrected Jesus, Chris Mascara (Mascara), the honeyed urgings of Valerie Forgione (Mistle Thrush) as Mary Magdalene and the predictably bravura-ed bombast of Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen, Tribe of Judah) who had taken the role of Judas after handling the titular martyr for a number of years, the performance was occasionally tortured by feedback and a well-arranged, but at times overpowering, backing band which pushed some of the vocalists to their extremes.
Though some of the trippier lines of the libretto tripped over the mix, the story moved well and remained clear, despite double and even triple roles which had some of the disciples adding to the sacrilegious mob. Other standout performances included Peter Moore (Count Zero) as a Floyd-ian reluctant judge named Pilate and Karin Parker as a hot souled siren named Simon. While Brian Gottesman (Chucklehead, Rype) was a bit overly dramatic as The Priest, Boston Rock Opera faithful T. Max was pure rock and roll clergy as Annas, a shrill counterpart to the towering presence of BRO Co-Founder Mick Maldonado's High Priest Caiaphas. The band mixed Casiod horns with plucky, Van Halened solos and though some of the vocals failed (especially in the second half), the dramatic tension was heightened by the surging music and even more by Mascara's well-honed and convincing performance. Portraying Christ as an overwhelmed man of God instead of an overwhelmingly godly man, Mascara showed what a presence he can be even without his own guitar. Perhaps he is wasting his talents in a rock band. He certainly did not here.