Beloved retiring professor George Pinney directs rock musical phenomenon Jesus Christ Superstar for IU Theatre

Oct 11, 2016

Bloomington, Ind –  Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will open the hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar in November in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre. The Hamilton of its day, this worldwide phenomenon brought an entirely new audience to Broadway, and has been captivating audiences for over 45 years with its modern, psychological take on the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot.

Jesus Christ Superstar, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice, was first created as a rock opera concept album, released in 1970. Its subsequent Broadway opening in 1971 made the show Webber and Rice’s first professionally staged musical. It has been continuously revived, toured, and produced all over the world since.

IU Theatre’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar will be helmed by George Pinney, the outgoing head of the BFA program, as his final show as director after a 30-year career with IU. “Having wanted to direct Jesus Christ Superstar since I saw the first national concert tour back in 1971, I have always been intrigued by the lyric, ‘if you strip away the myth from the man, you will see where we all soon will be,’” says Pinney. “This ambiguous statement about faith is fully explored and debated through the actors’ intentions, the soaring music, and the spectacle created by costumes, sets, lights, and sound wedded with a passionate creative team and enormously talented acting company.”

The cast of over thirty actors is led by Andrew Minkin (Jesus) and Caleb Novell (Judas). “I love that Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber were brave enough to tell this story in a new way. It pressures and challenges people to think, and that’s what we’re here to do,” says Novell, who is a junior in the BFA musical theatre program.

The design team features Kevin Nelson (Scenic Design), and Matthew Wofford (Lighting Design) in his 3rd Year MFA Thesis Design Project. Brandon Porter will serve as music director for the production. Mr. Porter is part of the Independent Major Program at IU, which allows students to personalize a curriculum, culminating in a final project.

Jesus Christ Superstar permanently changed the American musical, and its raucous energy and unforgettable music are still as potent today as ever.

WHATJesus Christ Superstar, presented by IU Theatre

WHEN: Nov. 4 – Nov. 12, 2016

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for senior citizens. 812.855.1103 or For group discounts contact Abby Miller (

For more information or interview/photography requests, contact Amy Osajima at 812-855-0514 or