Fresh cast makes ‘Je­sus Christ Su­per­star’ spe­cial

Business Daily (Kenya) - - WEEKENDER - Mar­garetta wa Gacheru mar­garetta.gacheru@gmail.com

Dress re­hearsals can never tell you ev­ery­thing you need to know about a new pro­duc­tion, es­pe­cially when there in­vari­ably are stops for checks on the sound, the lights and other last minute de­tails com­ing from per­fec­tion­ist di­rec­tors like Stu­art Nash who has brought back An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s Je­sus

Christ Su­per­star to the Na­tional The­atre stage this week­end.

The new ver­sion of JC Su­per­star has been se­ri­ously re­vised, re­fined and im­proved well be­yond any­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

The rea­sons are num­ber one, the cast­ing and num­ber two, the

mu­si­cians who’ve been hand­picked by Nash. The main dif­fer­ence in the cast­ing is sig­nif­i­cant since both Martin Githinji, as Je­sus, and Nice Githinji, as Mary Mag­da­lene, are sea­soned ac­tors who Nash dis­cov­ered could not only act but sing very well. Both put so much pas­sion into their per­for­mances that one should be able to feel their charis­matic pull which com­ple­ments that of Mugambi Nthige who’s still be­ing a treach­er­ous Ju­das and of Mkazee Mwa­tela who plays the much-hated Herod with glee­ful nas­ti­ness.

So even though I only saw half the dress re­hearsal I could clearly see this re­vised ver­sion of JC Su­per­star is a show not to be missed, even if you al­ready saw it once. This pro­duc­tion is brand new and a deeply mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mean­while, there’s much to cel­e­brate at the Sto­ry­moja Fes­ti­val this year. Open­ing Septem­ber 27 and run­ning through Oc­to­ber 1, the first thing is that the Fes­ti­val was brought back to Nairobi by pop­u­lar de­mand af­ter its ven­tur­ing to West Africa in 2016 to stage the ‘‘big­gest lit­er­ary and cul­tural fes­ti­val’’ com­ing from Kenya in Ac­cra, Ghana.

The sec­ond thing is that this year the Fes­ti­val has ex­panded its artis­tic op­tions, bring­ing us not only books and their bril­liant au­thors but also mas­ter classes, work­shops and talks by cre­atives from all over Africa and be­yond.

Sto­ry­moja’s founder and CEO Muthoni Gar­land, to­gether with her team headed by lead­ing sto­ry­teller Wan­gari Grace, is also host­ing a whole se­ries of the­atre pro­duc­tions.

Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with The The­atre Com­pany, there will be a range of out­stand­ing the­atri­cal events. One is the re­turn of

A Man Like You which has been slightly short­ened since the show was recog­nised by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of The­atre Crit­ics. And ac­cord­ing to script writer and di­rec­tor Sil­via Cassini, the The­atre Crit­ics were so im­pressed with the show that they got the whole com­pany an in­vi­ta­tion to Hong Kong where they’ll per­form at the World Cul­ture Con­fer­ence which will run from Novem­ber 2nd through 6th.

What’s equally ex­cit­ing is that the two Zim­bab­wean ac­tors who per­formed in the last stag­ing of A

Man Like You will again be part of the cur­rent cast.

But in ad­di­tion to per­form­ing at Nairobi Na­tional Mu­seum’s Louis Leakey Au­di­to­rium dur­ing the fes­ti­val, the two will be per­form­ing one-man shows.

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