A personal favourite

Sally Cole
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Inspired by an early experience with the musical, Shirley Anne Cameron happy to direct Jesus Christ Superstar for Fandango Musical Players

Shirley Anne Cameron recalls the shivers that ran down her spine the first time she watched Jesus Christ Superstar on the big screen.

“As a young girl, I remember being really moved by the music and the story. It was so powerful,” says the Summerside teacher/ director who first saw the movie in her hometown of Hamilton, Ont.

It was also Cameron’s first musical theatre experience. Sitting in the movie theatre, taking in the 1973 film, created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and directed by Norman Jewison, made a huge impact on her life.

Along with some other musicals, it inspired her to study music at university. It also helped her explore her faith.

“As a nice Catholic girl, we would go to church each week, but seeing Jesus as a human changed everything for me.”

Over the years, her feelings for the show have remained strong.

So when members of Fandango Musical Players were looking for a show to open their 2014 season, Cameron suggested it.

Immediately everyone jumped on board.

“We have 45 cast members in the show, and everyone is bringing really good energy,” says Cameron, the director of Jesus Christ Superstar, which opened last night and continues tonight and tomorrow night at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside.

Described as a human telling of the last days of Jesus, the rock opera features, among others, Steve Bruce as Jesus, Kady Brown as Mary Magdalene and Chris Smith as Judas.

“In our production, a contemporary audience looks at an ancient story. From the set that combines ancient walls with exposed lighting and modern scaffolding to the costumes — modern dress accented with traditional pieces — to the modern dance, the entire musical is a play within a play. And all of these elements join together to help bring different views and faiths to the story.”

After months of planning and practising, she’s ready to share it with others.

“People should check it out because it’s a good show and because it’s well done. Everybody has risen to the expectations and the challenge. And it’s come together really well,” says Cameron, adding the music director is Tanya Bernard.

Choreographer is Brianne Shea, while Margo Thompson is set designer and Sandra McNeill is costume designer. Besides talented people, the musical features a variety of age groups.

“We have high school students and young adults who knew nothing about the show to older ladies and gentlemen who are really so happy to be a part of it because of their memories.

“So I invite everyone to come to the show.”


Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at scole@theguardian.pe.ca or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.

If you are going

- What: Jesus Christ Superstar.

- When and where: Harbourfront Theatre, May 9-10, 7:30 p.m.

- Tickets: Contact the box office at 888-2500, toll-free, 1-800-708-6506 or send an email to boxoffice@harbourfronttheatre.com.

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