Shepparton Theatre Arts Group prepare for Jesus Christ Superstar

By Tara Whitsed

Shepparton Theatre Arts Group actors Brandon Armstrong and Jayden Yosh have had a little more time to rehearse for this year’s musical.

The pair have been cast as Jesus and Judas respectively in the upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

And the two spend their days working in retail together at the same store.

If you listen carefully you might even hear the faint sound of a Jesus Christ Superstar number coming from their staff room.

‘‘Sometimes I can hear Jayden singing when he’s coming around the corner,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

The Goulburn Valley men have starred in Initial Stages productions before being cast in recent STAG shows.

Mr Armstrong played roles in Wicked and the Bakehouse Bard and Jayden starred in Dookie The Musical and Bakehouse Bard.

The pair said the biggest challenge during rehearsals had been the extensive vocal range needed to sing the musical’s pieces. 

Mr Yosh said he had never sung so high-pitched before.

‘‘The lyrics are so powerful though,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

While it is the first time the pair have been case in Jesus Christ Superstar, they said there has been several stories circulating during rehearsal of STAG’s previous shows staged in 1988 and 1998.

‘‘Each version has been so different,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

Mr Yosh said he had always been familiar with the story after attending Notre Dame College in Shepparton.

‘‘I know the basic Easter story, but I’ve been a massive fan of Jesus Christ Superstar since I was in Year 6 when I saw my high school perform it,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

The pair said director Trish Deakin and assistant director Gemma Merchant had done a fantastic job at making Jesus and Judas relatable for audience members.

‘‘Jesus and Judas in the show are not the typical biblical icons that everyone has come to know; they’re a lot more human,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

‘‘If you don’t know the story of even if you’re not religious, you can definitely take something away from it,’’ Mr Yosh said.

The pair also said the directors had gone to great lengths to ensure Judas’ death was respectful.

‘‘It’s done in a much more respectful way,’’ Mr Yosh said.

‘‘Judas’ death is implied rather than shown in graphic detail.’’

This was done so as to not trigger any audience members who had been affected by suicide.

Jesus Christ Superstar will be staged from May 2 to May 5 at Westside Performing Arts Centre, Echuca Rd, Mooroopna. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from the Riverlinks website or via the Box Office on 5832 9511.