Director Jeff Ashcraft's vision for Countryside Community Theatre's Jesus Christ Superstar is clear from the very beginning. As the orchestra, under music director Keith Haan's capable leadership, plays the overture to composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's and lyricist Tim Rice's gospel story, images of recent religious, political, and social figures and world events are projected on a large screen. It's as if Ashcraft is saying that these are the reasons we need a savior (e.g., terrorism), and that these are the vessels through which Christ's message reaches the world (e.g., Mother Teresa). Ashcraft not only modernizes the story's setting - aided by designer Emilee Droegmiller's present-day costumes and the use of cell phones, tablets, and video cameras throughout - but immediately makes the case for a modern need for Jesus Christ.
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