Community theater veterans are on stage with Jesus Christ Superstar,with a matinee show Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. and remaining show dates Nov. 15-17 at 8 p.m., at the Plant City Entertainment Theater at 101 North Thomas St.
The rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice is under the local direction of Domin Pazo, with Oliver Sprague cast in the title role, a part that he said in an interview during rehearsals is "almost unplayable" and "the most difficult thing I've ever done."
"I personally believe in God, I believe in Jesus," which makes his portrayal an even more challenging endeavor, Sprague said. On stage, he added, Jesus Christ "is a legend, a legendary character, and I'm having a really hard time making it right, keeping him, making him, Biblically correct."
"I feel a lot of pressure because of that," Sprague said.
eSprague brings to the effort his experiences bringing many memorable characters to life, to wit: Roger, in Rent; the Master of Ceremonies, in Cabaret; and Adolfo Pirelli, in Sweeney Todd.
As for Jesus Christ Superstar, "I've cried during rehearsals in many scenes," he said, such as when Jesus interacts with his betrayer, Judas Iscariot, "and the hurt he must have felt."
The crucifixion scene is particularly intense, Sprague added.
"[But] for me, my favorite moment is when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. That's the moment that everybody thinks of when they're thinking of Jesus living up to his mission in life and his choice to fulfill it," Sprague said. "It's his human moment."
As for the emotions Sprague brings to the task, he describes them as such:
"Jesus gets upset, and I think he feels scared at the same time," Sprague said. "He questions his fate but at the same time he has his epiphany, when he realizes it's in God's hands and it's up to him [Jesus] to fufill his his mission for the world."
Doors for the Plant City shows open an hour before curtain call. Tickets cost $14 for general admission and $12 for seniors and students through grade 12. For PCE members and group sales, the ticket price is $10.
For information, visit Plant City Entertainment. Call: 813-677-8045.