It takes a while for the title character to buy into the premise, but The Foreigner certainly pays off big time in the end. A hysterical but well-tempered version of Larry Shue’s 1983 farce opened at the Duluth Playhouse on Thursday, September 27.
A distressed guest at a Georgia lodge pretends to not know a lick of English in a farce by Larry Shue that premiered Off Broadway in the mid-1980s. Charlie becomes “The Foreigner,” the titular character of a play about what people will say when they don’t think anyone is listening — or can, at least, understand them.
Like, for instance: an heiress in turmoil, a dark preacher, a maternal lodge-keeper, a would-be heir and a cruel property inspector with an eye on the property.
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Every single song in this show is being sung in a way you have never heard before. It starts when Evan Tyler Wilson as Judas launches into Heaven on Their Minds, and by the time Adam Sippola’s Jesus sings Poor Jerusalem, it becomes clear this approach is the rule and not the exception in this production. I would bet many an audience member was surprised at what song they were unexpectedly humming on their way home (for me it was Could We Start Again Please? because I was captivated by what Sara Wabrowetz’s Mary Magdalene was doing with the melody on the title phrase).
[This is an excerpt from the original article “‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ director boosts Duluth Playhouse production with impressive resume” written by Christa Lawler with the Duluth News Tribune.]
Fact: Jesus Christ Superstar was born as a concept album that toured as an arena show before the theatrical production opened in the early 1970s.
It’s the rock ’n’ roll story of the days leading to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, from the perspective of Judas (played locally by Evan Tyler Wilson). It’s a trickier production than Les Miserables because of its unconventional structure and its origin as an album, director Dorothy Danner said.
Wow. It’s been difficult to wrap our minds around how many talented individuals this little big town holds. So many talented local artists came out for Jesus Christ Superstar auditions to show director Dorothy “Dottie” Danner what they could do. (Dottie directed this past summer’s production of Les Miserables at the DECC.)
Thank you to everyone who came out and belted their stuff! Without further adieu, here’s the cast list for Jesus Christ Superstar: