Jesus gets woke make-over as son of God made NON-BINARY for musical - and Judas is a woman

A production of Jesus Christ Superstar has been adapted from the 1972 performance which had a male protagonist
A production of Jesus Christ Superstar has been adapted from the 1972 performance which had a male protagonist
Wiki Commons
Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler

Published: 24/01/2023

- 13:04

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:21

The production has adopted ‘gender-blind casting’

A musical has been “reinvented” for the 21st century with a non-binary actor taking on the role as Jesus and a woman playing Judas in a university performance.

Students at the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group will launch the world’s first gender-neutral production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The musical, written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice more than half a century ago, will feature Roza Stevenson — who uses the pronouns they/them — as Jesus.

And the 12 apostles will be portrayed by female or non-binary performers.

Lloyd Webber Licensing granted permission for the production but insisted that the lyrics and pronouns must not be changed.

Ben Forster (centre) during a dress rehearsal for the new production of Jesus Christ Superstar, at the LH2 centre in London.
The 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar featured a man as the main role
Ian West

This means that Mary Magdalene, played by Sofia Pricolo, will sing I Don’t Know How to Love Him, about Jesus, rather than I Don’t Know How to Love Them.

Lew Forman, the creative producer, explained that the production had used “gender-blind casting” to transform the story of Jesus.

“Jesus is remembered as being a man, but who are we to decide?” he told The Times.

“None of us were around 2,000 years ago. It’s the same story and songs but the audience will view it from a different perspective.”

However, Foreman says their “equal opportunity” has received backlash as well as acts of vandalism.

He said: “People have said to us ‘Oh, Jesus is not a man’. It has definitely been a bit controversial. A number of our posters have been vandalised.”

But added that he was unaware of any objections from Christians or religious organisations.

Leading actor Stevenson says they were delighted to be able to audition: “The group has taken a well-known story and made it something new and special.

“Being a non-binary actor is a strange line to walk. Being able to audition for a show where my gender presentation didn’t make a difference broke down any barriers.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber performing during the Platinum Party at the Palace staged in front of Buckingham Palace, London, on day three of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Saturday June 4, 2022.
Lloyd Webber Licensing has granted permission for the production to go ahead
Joe Giddens

The production is set to take place at Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh, a location previously housed Morningside Free Church – which would have been looked at unfavourably by Presbyterian worshippers.

Emily Paterson, the musical director said: “What makes this production unique is our gender-neutral casting. Taking away the boundaries of gendered roles allowed us to find a dynamic and captivating cast.

“In particular, having a completely non-male cast of apostles I have found to be very moving, allowing this iconic story to be told in a new and refreshing way.”

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