Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-11-14
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

NUNN ON ONE THEATER Heath Saunders takes lead in 'Jesus Christ Superstar'
Extended for the online version of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2018-05-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The 1970 groundbreaking musical Jesus Christ Superstar—which Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice created—continues to rise in popularity to this day, thanks to a recent live version on TV and a new production at the Lyric Opera.

Set in 30 A.D., Jesus Christ Superstar opens with Judas Iscariot criticizing Jesus; the plot unfolds in song from there. There is little spoken dialogue in this story and, instead, has dynamic music that has thrilled audiences for generations while garnering five Tony nominations.

Heath Saunders leads the talented cast as Jesus Christ and brings experience from past shows like Spamalot, Les Miserables and Hairspray: In Concert.

For NBC Live, Saunders was in the ensemble and played guitar. He studied musical theater at the University in Miami and has worked with a variety of musical instruments over the years.

Windy City Times: Start off with where you are from.

Heath Sanders: I grew up outside of Seattle in Kirkland, Washington. I moved to New York about four years ago now.

WCT: What is your ethnicity?

HS: My dad is Black and my mom is white. I am super-American, as my family has been here since the beginning of America. We can track back one side to John Adams and the other to American slavery.

WCT: Was your family always supportive of you being queer?

HS: I have two moms now, so yes. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 6. My mom married my stepmom and I was raised by two women. My dad lived three blocks away.

WCT: So you could be whatever you wanted to be.

HS: Yes, and I am very interested in labels, which is why I care about "queer" as a term. For me, queer is about pushing back on labels and queering the narrative. My mantra as an artist is saying things don't have to be a certain way. We can twist those things.

Same thing with race, as I am neither Black nor white. There's a spectrum of race, gender and sexual identity.

WCT: Did you always want to be in musicals growing up?

HS: Sort of. I started as a musician. I played cello, oboe, piano and saxophone through school. My middle-school band teacher said that if I wanted to make a living as an instrumentalist that I should play in pits of musicals. We watched musicals in class like My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof.

When we watched West Side Story a very white community theater was looking for Sharks. Me and my brothers, three of whom live in New York with me and are performers currently, all auditioned for West Side Story. The theater did about three musicals a year so by the time I graduated I had done 24 musicals. Some of them were original musicals and then I went to school to study composition. I accidentally fell back into performing.

WCT: What was I Am Harvey Milk, which was on your resume?

HS: Andrew Lippa wrote an oratorio situation that I did a reading of before I moved to New York in 2014. It wound up culminating in Lincoln Center with 120 Broadway men singing in the chorus.

WCT: Talk about being cast in Jesus Christ Superstar.

HS: I just finished doing Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. I found out I got both parts the same day but if I did them I would have no day off.

The audition process for the Lyric one was hilarious because I went in as a swing cover for Jesus and Judas. I had to prepare everything in the show!

After many auditions with this show, I was called in for the Live show as the Judas understudy. They noticed I knew the show really well, but that was because I had been auditioning for it for weeks. I got the call offering me both jobs the next Monday.

WCT: Talk about Good Friday—that was a good Monday! What are the differences between Live and the Lyric?

HS: There are similarities in aesthetic, such as the scaffolding and a beat up world. My way of dressing is actually the same in both shows. It's how I dress every day.

The biggest difference is the approach to the material as performers. With NBC Live, we were focused on the story and defining the characters. Here at the Lyric as a performer, it feels a lot less like acting and more like doing a concert. A lot of the language in the show is about going to the gig. I sing at a mic stand so it is like I am doing a show as an artist being asked to sing. It blurs the lines of reality a little more aggressively. You get a little peek of Heath the performer.

In approach, the two are opposite of each other.

WCT: Do you have a favorite song in the show?

HS: "Judas' Death" has the greatest music reprise of anything ever written. It has a beautiful moment. Musically, "Damned for All Time" is my favorite, though.

"Gethsemane" has a special place in my heart, also. The terror of having to sing that song is a moment!

WCT: What did you think of Alice Cooper being in the Live show?

HS: He is so charming and the nicest guy. I was terrified of him as a child. Little Heath had a very different impression of him.

WCT: Jesus Christ Superstar is going on tour next year?

HS: Yes, but I just heard about that, though. This Lyric production and the tour are both Regent Parks Open Air Theatre's productions but are not otherwise related.

WCT: Are you working on any future projects?

HS: I am writing a musical with my mother and star in opposite my brother. It is called Newton's Cradle. We are going to do a reading of it this summer to find a house for it.

It's about a young man who is on the autistic spectrum coping with grief and confusion about identity in life. It is a family drama taking place across 30 years, and is nonlinear. It's combining Fun Home and Curious Incident into one show, with shades of Light in the Piazza and Next to Normal.

Jesus Christ Superstar rocks now through Sunday, May 20, at the Lyric Opera, 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., with tickets at JCSuperstar.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Dramatists has leadership changes 2018-11-14 - Chicago Dramatists announced it has accepted the resignation of Executive Director Vanessa Bamber. Bamber will continue in her position until Dec. 31, according ...


Gay News

Sophia Petrillo Italian Dinner and Talent Show to benefit Hell in a Handbag 2018-11-14 - CHICAGO ( November 13, 2018 ) — Join Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia for Hell in a Handbag Productions' annual benefit, The Sophia ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Battling Trump via art, an actor's superpower 2018-11-14 - Let's acknowledge one thing, after two years of misery: Our president is not stupid. He is not an idiot or moron. In ...


Gay News

YEPP's 'Rise Up' taking place Nov. 14 2018-11-14 - In recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience and Youth Homelessness Awareness Month, Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ) will host "Rise ...


Gay News

Ike Holter: The 'Right(lynd)' stuff 2018-11-14 - Last week's midterm elections taught us that political engagement is more crucial than ever. This makes Ike Holter's Rightlynd—opening this week at ...


Gay News

'Santuario' readings Nov. 16-18 at Piven 2018-11-13 - Evanston's Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes St., will present a staged reading of Santuario/Sanctuary on Nov. 16-18. Santuario/Sanctuary is a bilingual documentary theater ...


Gay News

Intersectional team creates change in 'The Revolutionists 2018-11-13 - The Revolutionists, opening at Strawdog Theatre in mid-November, may center on the concerns of 18th-century women during the Reign of Terror, but Lauren ...


Gay News

'TransScripts' brings lives of transgender women into the light 2018-11-13 - In the shadow of President Trump's alleged memo that seeks to define them out of existence by declaring that gender is immutable from ...


Gay News

This Bitter Earth 2018-11-13 - Author: Harrison David Rivers At: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: TheaterWit.org; $20-$38. Runs through: Dec. 8 In bringing This ...


Gay News

Cosmologies 2018-11-13 - By: David Rabe At: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: TheGiftTheatre.org; $35-$50. Runs through: Dec. 9 Cosmologies, now in ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.