When Stephen Armati decided he wanted to direct his first production, there was no way he was going to start small.
With one of the world’s best known and loved musicals Jesus Christ Superstar at his disposal and a huge cast of 49, Mr Armati’s vision will finally become a reality this week when it opens at the Wendouree Centre of Performing Arts.
“I went and saw it as the arena spectacular with John Farnham, Jon Stevens and Kate Ceberano in 1992 and I just fell in love with it,” Mr Armati said.
“The story is so well known, but the emotion, the spin of the story, it’s just a brilliant rock opera.
“It’s been a labour of love for me for the past 12 months and finally to see my baby come to fruition is fantastic.”
Mr Armati described his cast which includes Aidan Brady and Dylan Shalless in the role of Judas, Laurence Heenan as Jesus, Shelley Szova as Mary and Dan West as Pontius Pilate as a “dream cast”.
“You cannot fault this cast at all,” he said. “The principle cast is really immersed in the characters, I’ve been watching it three times a week and there’s been times I’ve been left in tears by the power of the performances.”
For Ms Szova who takes on the pivotal role of Mary, it’s been an experience to remember.
“I was in Cats last year, but this is a whole new experience for me. The role I had last years was nothing like the size playing Mary,” she said.
“It’s been a real challenge for me personally, just getting to know the character. Mary is so complex, she’s seen so much in her life and stepping into this realm is such an unknown for her.”
She said working with Mr Armati had been a pleasure.
“I first met Steve last year when we were doing Cats and we’ve become great friends,” she said.
“There’s noway he seems like a first time director. His vision is incredible, everyone is going to love what he’s done, it’s an amazing job.”
Jesus Christ Superstar is playing at the Wendouree Centre of Performing Arts from March 1-11. Tickets are available from wcpa.com.au