March 9, 2023
NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre will present Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar as part of its “Downtown Series” March 30 through April 2.
The OU Musical Theatre faculty-lead team includes assistant professor, Tim Espinosa, serving as director of the production. OU Musical Theatre professor Vince Leseney is musical director and OU Musical Theatre lecturer Michelle Rambo is choreographer.
Jesus Christ Superstar will have one preview performance on Thursday, March 30, and opening night is scheduled for Friday, March 31, followed by additional performances on April 1 and 2. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Myriad Water Stage and Plaza at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave. in Oklahoma City. This production is suitable for all audiences.
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that features the lyrics and music by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Rice and Webber originally released the show as a concept album in 1970. The success led to the show’s Broadway stage debut in 1971.
Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks of the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Gethsemane” and “Superstar,” among others.
“Jesus Christ Superstar is a seminal work in musical theatre history,” Espinosa said. “At the time of its conception, the creators of this show were listening and being influenced by artists such as Bob Dylan, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, The Who and David Bowie. Through the device of a concept album, Rice and Webber created a theatrical experience that has transcended our preconceived notions of what a musical can and should be.”
When asked about how this production differs from the recent national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, Espinosa explained, “In our production, we are excited to explore a concept that breaks down old binary structures in casting and empowers new communities of young artists to explore roles that were not traditionally written for them. With a cast led by several female-identifying performers, we are excited to explore a new way of communicating the 50-year-old musical that is relatable to a new generation of theatergoers, all while honoring the original intentions of the playwrights. My hope for the audience is that this show should feel like a cross between a dance concert and a rock gig, all while celebrating the legacy and magnitude of the original production.”
The cast of Jesus Christ Superstar will include Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre students Keely Anders as Judas, Lydia Campbell as Jesus, Matthew Gordon as Peter, Jesse Hanks as King Herod, Isabel Kaegi as Annas, Rodney McKinner as Caiaphas, Carter McPherson as Pontius Pilate, Sydni Moon as Mary Magdalene and Anastasia White as Simon.
The ensemble includes Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts students Rosie Granito, Mary Grace Humphries, Helena Laing, Halle Lipton, Sofia Macaluso, Cameron Majewski, Desmond Pouncil, Merrick Theobald, Manny Tijerina, Christian Tinajero and Ashley Woytal.
The design team includes Ben Hall, scenic designer; Paul Stafford, costume designer; Fabian J. Garcia, lighting designer; and Matthew A. Sykes, sound designer. The production staff includes Josh McGowen, stage manager; Gage Martinez, assistant stage manager; Jessica Carabajal, production manager; Michael Stafford, band leader; and Ashton Byrum, producer.
Tickets at the door are $25 for adults and $15 for students with ID. Tickets for Thursday evening’s performance are $15 for adults, and $5 for students with ID. Tickets may be purchased online at musicaltheatre.ou.edu.
June 7, 2022
NORMAN, Okla. – After an extensive national search, the A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma announces the appointment of Tim Espinosa as a new Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Performance. His primary responsibilities will include serving as an acting teacher and stage director for OU’s top ranked BFA in Musical Theatre Performance program.
Espinosa is a professional director, educator, actor, and electric violinist with a passion for bringing musical theatre training to underrepresented communities throughout the country.
Espinosa most recently served as the founder and coordinator of the Fullerton College Musical Theatre Training program in Southern California where he has taught courses in musical theatre performance techniques, professional orientation, acting, directing, and musical theatre history. His recent service includes Lead Diversity Officer for the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance and founder of MTEA’s inaugural Committee on Representation, Equity and Inclusion, where he facilitated numerous industry discussions on best practices to promote antiracist policies within theatre education. As Lead Diversity Officer, Tim facilitated discussions including Race, Equity and Inclusion in Musical Theatre, White Fragility in Theatre Education, and Decolonizing Musical Theatre Curriculum.
Espinosa is a proud member of Stage Director and Choreographers Society and Actors’ Equity Association and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from California State University at Fullerton and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Brandeis University.
Major performance credits include venues such as Goodspeed Opera House, Papermill Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival to name a few.
As an Electric Violinist, Tim has been at the forefront of popularizing the electric violin to international audiences. Featured violin performance credits include The Boston Pops Orchestra and The Pacific Symphony Orchestra. www.TimEspinosa.com
Espinosa succeeds Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Performance, Shawn Churchman, who retired June 2022.