Mud Creek Players returns ’Jesus Christ Superstar’ to its stage on 30th anniversary

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Michelle Moore’s first cast party at Mud Creek Theater led to a memorable meet-cute.

She was asked if she wanted to hear a cast recording of “Jesus Christ Superstar” from the 1989 production.

“At first, I didn’t think I wanted to hear this tiny theater destroy my favorite musical,” Moore said. “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how good it was, in particular the voice that was singing the part of Jesus. They said, ‘Oh, you’ll never meet him. He’s gone back to school and he won’t be around anymore.’”

A few months later she was auditioning for some shows and waiting outside for the door to be unlocked when a young man arrived.

“He introduced himself and said, ‘Hi, I’m Collin Moore,’ and I said, ‘You’re Jesus,’ and then I married him.”

Thirty years later, Moore will be directing “Jesus Christ Superstar” and her husband will be the only cast member from the 1989 production. The Mud Creek Players presents the classic musical for the first time since then. The run is from April 19 to May 4 at Mud Creek Theater.

“He’s playing the captain of the guard, so he gets to be the one that flogs Jesus, instead of being one who is flogged,” said Moore, a Carmel High School graduate and Lawrence resident.

Their daughter, Alaina, a Lawrence North junior, is the student director for the production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice rock opera.

Kathie Meyer, who played Mary Magdalene in the ’89 show, is the props mistress for the show.

Indianapolis resident Onis Dean plays Jesus.

“I saw him the first time playing Jesus in ‘Godspell,’” Moore said.

Pearl Scott, a 2010 Lawrence North High School graduate, plays Mary Magdalene. Scott recently moved back to Lawrence after four years in the Army.

“I had a specialization of vocalist in the Army band,” Scott said. “You are still a soldier first. You are still doing all the (physical training) and rifle training. Our main focus is to entertain and boost morale.”

Scott, who wants to pursue a singing career, joined the Army after graduating from Indiana University.

“I grew up loving the movie,” Scott said. “It’s so powerful. Growing up Christian as well, I really connected to it.”

Michael Lipphardt, a Noblesville resident, plays Judas. This is the third time he has been in the musical.

“My first community theater experience was ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ back in Detroit,” Lipphardt said. “I played an apostle. Incidentally, my last show in the Detroit area upon graduating college in “Jesus Christ Superstar’ was playing Peter.”

After stops in Fort Worth, Texas and Chicago, Lipphardt moved to Indiana a few years ago. He did two shows at the Belfry Theatre in Noblesville and this is first Mud Creek production

Lipphardt saw the film version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” when he was 7 years old.

“Watching Carl Anderson play Judas in the movie, it was always a dream of mine when I watched that to play that role,” Lipphardt said. “Now, watching it done several times over and having the ability now vocally to perform the role in a rock opera has been really amazing. I’m blessed to play the role of my life in my third stint. This is the show that first turned me on to musical theater.”

Moore said there are challenges in the Mud Creek Theater because it’s not built for musical theater.

“The bigger challenge is getting sound levels right,” Moore said. “Backstage, managing 40-some people, is a challenge for our stage manager.”

There are 43 cast members, including a five-piece rock band.

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