Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rocker slows down to be in 'Superstar'

Corey Glover is probably best known as the lead singer of hard-rocking band Living Colour, the group that won back-to-back Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Cult of Personality" and "Time's Up."

The video for "Cult of Personality" still gets a lot of hits on Glover is seen in bright yellow T-shirt and shorts, his braided hair swinging wildly as he pounds out the lyrics.

Glover is now making his national tour debut as Judas in the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar," opening Tuesday at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville.

The musical penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice includes the classic songs "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Everything's Alright" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Set in two acts, it tells the story of the final seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It earned five Tony nominations.

Ted Neeley, who received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Jesus in the Norman Jewison film version of "Superstar," plays Jesus in the touring production.

Glover, who has been with the tour for nine months, called from a tour stop in New York. He said he'll be with the tour for six more weeks and is still deciding whether to join up again when it resumes in the fall.

Question: Did you audition, or did they come after you?

Corey Glover: They found me and offered me the part. I did sort of have to audition, but the part was mine. It's a really a long, convoluted story which I have not figured out how to work into one sentence. They called looking for me. The producers saw me and I met with Ted (Neeley), and I've been doing this ever since.

Q: Why did you want to play this part?

CG: I've always wanted to do this part. This sort of formed my ideas on being a rock singer. It formed my ideas on doing music. I saw the movie when I was a kid and it changed my life, and I've always wanted to play this part.

Q: Is it a character you can sink your teeth into as an actor and as a singer?

CG: Absolutely. It's got everything I'm looking for. I just feel like it does all that stuff. My life has been music and acting, so now I'm doing it and doing it with Ted Neeley, and it's amazing.

Q: Were you able to put your own stamp on the character, or did they give you a guideline on how to portray this part?

CG: The story is really humanizing the Passion play, and you have to look at it in those terms. If you were in this situation, if you knew somebody who you thought his head was getting big and feeling bigger than he was, wouldn't you want to pull him back and say, "Look, this is getting a little out of hand," which is basically what the Judas character is doing, and people villify Judas as a betrayer. But if you look at him as a human being and not as just evil incarnate, you'll see he had a very human idea. If you were put in that same situation, you would probably act the same way.

Q: How has your work with Living Colour helped you in this role?

CG: To me, it's all the same: Music is theater, and theater is music. This is life. I try to deal with it like how I live. It's all a part of the process of living. When I sing with Living Colour, I use my acting abilities, and when I act on stage, I'm using my singing abilities, so it's all together.

Q: This is your first national touring production. Is it different touring with a Broadway show than touring with a rock band?

CG: It is the same, and it's different at the same time. We are on the road, and that's my life. My life has been on the road. With Living Colour, we'd go out on the road for a month or a month and a half and come home for a couple of days and then go out again. With this production, we go out and don't come home, which is very different.

Q: What are your plans after the tour ends?

CG: Living Colour is going to go out on the road for a couple of weeks, and we're going to go to Europe and South America. We're making a record, and we have a DVD that is coming out of some live shows. We are going to put out another DVD probably at the beginning of next year. And there should be an album out next summer.

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