A Radical Reimagining: Jesus Christ Superstar takes a bold new form at Five Points Theatre

Explores parallels between the last days of Christ and the last days of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton

A groundbreaking new production of the iconic musical Jesus Christ Superstar has taken the stage at Barrie’s Five Points Theatre.

Director Sasha Dennis promises a radical departure from previous renditions with her unique vision of this timeless classic.

Her inspiration for this project was a long-standing fascination with the Black Panther Party, particularly its leader Fred Hampton, whose story she believes holds striking parallels to that of Jesus Christ.

“You know, Fred Hampton served for three years; Jesus, his ministry, was three years. They both died on a Friday. William O’Neill, who was an informant for the FBI, and infiltrated the Black Panther Party, he’s kind of our Judas…he also committed suicide years later because of the guilt that he had. They all had the Last Supper on the Thursday. And that’s where William O’Neill poisoned one of Fred’s drinks, which led to the raid the next morning. So, yeah, there’s lots of similarities that I couldn’t ignore.”

Andrew Prashad and Kyle Brown, Jesus Christ Superstar: Matthew MacQuarrie-Cottle

Dennis, the founder of Musicals Reimagined, brings innovation and a fresh perspective to musical theatre. “After having directed for a couple of years, I just wanted to put something on for people in my community, to see what I’m doing, and the things that I want to tackle. And it’s really a chance for me to challenge traditional practices in musical theatre.”

Looking ahead, Dennis says she has a myriad of projects on the horizon. Among them is an adaptation of Ragtime, a new musical she is writing with her partner.

“I really love flipping scripts and seeing it differently. So I’m excited.”

Jesus Christ Superstar runs through December 2 at Five Points Theatre. For ticket information visit tift.ca

banner image: cast of Jesus Christ Superstar via Matthew MacQuarrie-Cottle