‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Winding Down Run at The Arts Asylum

The Arts Asylum production of Jesus Christ Superstar is said to be the first in a generation in Kansas City. The show debuted on Broadway in 1971. (Photo by Nicole Bissey)

By Kevin Collison

The Arts Asylum production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” has two weekends left in its current run and backers say the show’s first fully-staged Kansas City production in a generation has been well received.

“It’s one of the larger productions in terms of cast and performances and we’ve been working on it for two years,” said Evie Craig, executive director of The Arts Asylum. “We’ve had good audiences and it sold out Monday.”

Appropriately, the 1971 Broadway hit featuring the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is being performed in the former sanctuary of the 131 year-old Cavalry Baptist Church at 1000 E. Ninth St. It’s a co-production of The Arts Asylum and This Happy Breed.

The musical about the last days of Jesus Christ is loosely based on the Gospels. The Kansas City production is being directed by Kyle Hatley, the former associated artistic director of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

The Arts Asylum is located in the historic Cavalry Baptist Church at 1000 E. Ninth St. (Photo from Google Maps)

According to the press release, the performance has brought together a nationally renowned cast.

“The production aims to bring an immersive, inclusive experience that will resonate with longtime fans of the original and newcomers alike,” according to the release.

That fits well with the mission of The Arts Asylum, which Craig said was established in 2012 to provide people with a safe place to create.

In addition to theater productions, the historic church houses 23 artist studios and The Arts Asylum Academy, an arts education program that includes classes for students at the Crossroads Prep Academy charter high school.

“This show will blow people away,” Craig said in a statement. “Anyone who sees this show will walk away knowing that any one of us can do things that are truly epic and transcendent.”

The remaining performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” are today (Thursday), Friday and Saturday, and next week Wednesday through Saturday. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. The James and Marjory Russell Theatre accommodates about 175 people.

Ticket information can be found here.

The next production at the theater will be Victor Victoria from Nov. 14-24.

Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.