When a new production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" starts its run on Sept. 8 at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, Living Colour's Corey Glover, 42, will hit the stage as Judas.
The musical runs through Sept. 13 in the center's Mainstage Theatre. Tickets cost $25 to $45 and are available at the box office or through Ticketmaster. Call 645-ARTS for more information.
Glover spoke by phone from technical rehearsals at the UB North Campus earlier this week.
How is musical theater different from singing with the band?
This is real work. [Laughs.] It's very intense. Performing with Living Colour is more emotion-based; we share the responsibility of making people understand what is going on. With this kind of operatic show, your focus is different. It's on you, and not just to entertain. You have to make the audience get what you are saying, through words and enunciation. Plus, you have to remember where you are going.
Growing up in Brooklyn, did you picture yourself doing Broadway shows?
Yes. This is exactly what I've always wanted to do. When I got into the band, I realized, "I can do this." That made the transition to musical theater easier. And I always wanted to do this particular show. I saw the movie in the '70s, and it showed me that "rock musicals" existed.
"Jesus Christ Superstar," written in 1968, was Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first blockbuster. Do you think it's still applicable?
Yes, the story is timeless. Back then, it was revolutionary; no one had mixed musical theater and popular music. Now this show - along with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Hair" - is the standard to which newer musicals are compared.
Have you met Tim Rice or Sir Andrew?
No, never. But I think that since this is the last time that Ted [Neeley, reprising his lead role from the 1973 film] is doing it, one or both of them will show up along the way.
You were only 20 when you joined Living Colour - have you changed as an artist since then?
I have changed, because the world has changed around me. When I first started out, this was all brand new and exciting. Now is now: I'm married with kids, and all I'm really concerned about is trying to as good a job as I possibly can. And to keep doing it; the more I can, the better I get.
You mentioned the show being timeless: How can it be done over and over, without growing tired?
The Passion Play can be done so many different ways. It's really about how people deal with each other, how things become history. That is what we work at: the interaction between people.
- Jana Eisenberg, Special to The News