Tralee Musical Society prepares for epic show
April can't come quick enough for the hardworking and talented team over at the Tralee Musical Society as they hurry to put the finishing touches on their latest full-scale production in Tralee's hallowed venue of Siamsa Tíre.
The 'rock opera' as it is is being called is intriguingly entitled 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and is a show that organisers have guaranteed to be a hugely exciting and showstopping event for audiences.
It is just over 15 years since the society last performed the showcase in Siamsa Tire back back in 2002, for which the society managed to scoop five national AIMS awards and so for many of the current and younger members of the society, this award winning haul occurred back when they were only children, so for them, the chance to take part in a showcase that no doubt has become almost legendary will be something that they will no doubt be very excited about.
"It is a really exciting time for Tralee Musical Society at the moment as we are ranked as one of the top two societies in Ireland, and for us to be doing a show of this magnitude, with the plans that our director has in mind, is a great opportunity for us," said Suzan O' Gara talking to The Kerryman on Wednesday afternoon.
"There will be some fantastic firsts for us, including a serious stage setup that hasn't been seen on a Tralee stage before," she continued.
Staging a huge production such as this is by no means an easy feat, usually taking hours and hours of toiling into the late nights be it with rehearsals or stage design and Susan is quick to point out the incredible work done behind the scenes by the lesser known individuals, who without their contribution, none of what they do on stage would be possible.
"We have a very strong team behind every show that will help to bring it all together. From our committee, to ur directors to the set construction to the lighting design to the costume department and to the cast themselves."
"Every element is carefully thought out and there has to be a lot of communication and time and effort poured into each new production. Having just come out of what was a very successful 30th year for us as a society last year, we are really excited about what is to come for us next."
The story of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' traces the last seven days of the life of Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Judas fears that the compassionate movement with Jesus at its head has become a personality cult with many of Jesus' statements being taken up and twisted by his followers and he feels that Jesus must be stopped.
With a name as interesting and as eye catching as 'Jesus Christ Superstar', the series of nights in Siamsa Tíre, starting on the night of Wednesday, April 26 and running until Saturday, April 29, is bound to attract quite the crowd; so, if you do head down to the showpiece on the night, what can you expect?
"This play is a timeless work of art set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events, but which are seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot."
"Jesus Christ is not generally the figure that we expect in a rock show, but that's what makes this musical so entertaining; with music by Andrew Llyod Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this rock opera is going to tell the story of Jesus using modern rock music and contemporary slang. The show is a product of its era, permeated with 1970's rock, gospel, folk and funk themes, modern language and colloquialisms, and high-energy dance numbers, people are going to have a ball!,"
Having just celebrated their hectic 30th anniversary last year, one might have assumed that the society would be content to sit back, relax and take things a little bit easier this year; well it appears that anyone who thought that though, certainly isn't too familiar with how the Tralee Musical Society works.
This is a group that never stops striving to better themselves in every single way that they can and in this years showcase, they are already planning something a little bit special to make it that bit more nostalgic for returning viewers.
"We are in a very interesting place this time around as 15 years on from that famous showing back in 2002, the two lead roles in this years play - Jesus and Mary Magdelene - will in fact be played by the two same people, Jerry and Sharon Lynch, who played them all those years ago, both of whom who were recognised for their acting skills at the time," said Susan.
"We are delighted to have Oliver Hurley at the helm once again and he will be working alongside the extremely talented and humble Aine Murray and Elaine Canning as Musical and Choral directors respectively."
The name of Oliver Hurley is one that really needs no introduction; this award winning director has become so synonomus with the theatre here in Kerry that it is hard to imagine a time when he wasn't involved and as testament to the great man's enduring passion for his craft, he has confessed to feeling quite, quite excited about returning to one of his favourite musicals.
"I am delighted to have another opportunity to direct one of my favourite musicals. For me it's one of Andrew Lloyd Webbers finest compositions. I hope to once again challenge all the creative departments in Tralee Musical Society, from the costumes department to the set construction team," said Oliver, talking to The Kerryman this week.
"For the first time we will be constructing a revolving stage in Siamsa Tire. I am so looking forwards to the challenge in using this as a visual device and hope this will bring a whole new dynamic to the production," he continued.
"We have an extremely talented cast including Jerry Lynch and Sharon Lynch who have performed these same roles in our award winning production in 2002. We are delighted to showcase an extremely talented young man Sean McElligott who who will be playing the role of Judas; there is a very large cast who are at present immersed in the rehearsal process with choral and production rehearsals now in full swing."
"I am looking forward to bringing this emotional production to life on the stage of Siamsa Tire this April. We have a very high reputation to maintain as the top musical society in Ireland, but with this highly committed and talented cast we hope to give the people of Tralee a show they will never forget,"
Tickets for this show, which will take place from Wednesday 26th-Saturday 29th April at 8pm nightly in Siamsa Tíre are available to buy from the venue itself and are set to cost €19/€17.
Keep an eye on The Kerryman in the coming weeks for a competition giving you a chance to win an exciting family ticket to see the show!