The role of Jesus Christ has become somewhat synonymous with actor Glenn Carter, who has not only portrayed the Messiah on film and on tour, but also in the West End and on Broadway.
Next month, Glenn will return to Broadway to reprise the role – but instead of New York it’ll be the bright lights of Peterborough that beckon him this time.
Glenn, 51, has been touring with Bill Kenwright’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar this year, receiving rave reviews and standing ovations across the country.
And theatregoers in Peterborough will be able to take in this spectacular show when it arrives in the city next month, kicking off a very special winter season at The Broadway Theatre.
Joining Glenn on stage will be Australian star Tim Rogers as Judas and X Factor finalist Rachel Adedeji as Mary Magdalene as well as a very talented cast which includes Michael Ward, Kris Harding, Tom Gilling, Richard J Hunt, Johnathan Tweedie, David Burilin, Alistair Lee, Ed Handoll, Tim Oxbrow, Neil Moors, Andy Barke, Marc Akinfolarin, Cellen Chugg Jones, Rebekah Lowings, Lizzie Ottley and Olive Robinson.
Glenn said he was thrilled the show would be opening this great new season at The Broadway, and speaking exclusively to the Telegraph, he said: “I think it’s brilliant. Jesus Christ Superstar is an iconic musical, one of the most famous musicals so what better way to kick off the season in Peterborough than with an iconic show.”
He agrees it is a role that has become synonymous with him, but added: “I don’t quite know how that’s happened. I don’t think many people can scream out those notes, I think that’s the only reason, because I’m certainly not a religious person in that sense. It’s become something that I’ve done a few times now.”
Glenn first played Jesus in 1997 in a production at the Lyceum before reprising the role in 2000 for a film, which also starred the late Rik Mayall as King Herod.
He added: “Then I did it on Broadway, which was eight months and then I did a Kenwright tour in 2004, originally it was a four-week contract that I signed and I ended up staying on with fortnightly contracts for a month or so – and then this one.
“To be honest with you, I don’t see the role as playing Jesus, it’s just a version of him. And I don’t think many actors ever get the opportunity to sing a song like Gethsemane. And to do it in anger, in front of an audience with a band, in the dramatic setting that it’s in, the Last Supper to Gethsemane is one of the most challenging but also thrilling things to do. And with respect to all other writers, I do think Gethsemane is quite possibly the greatest song ever written for a leading man. It’s both vocally taxing, lyrically it says what you want them to say, emotionally it investigates several aspects of the character at once. He then goes through a dilemma and a discovery all in one song, which is incredibly rare in our profession.”
And although he has played the role for almost 20 years, Glenn said he still needs to rehearse just as much as he first did.
He said: “In some respects, possibly more so. I’ve got director’s notes of three or four different productions in my head, so I need to be very clear which one I’m doing. And what one director wants to investigate, another director absolutely does not. So for example, one director will say it’s all about the sub-text, the relationships between the characters, what their experiences are together, their emotional feelings about each other etc. And another director will say, no sub-text at all, we’re just telling the story that’s in front of you. So you can get two very polar-opposites in their approach to directing. So you can’t mix and match.”
Glenn has been on the road with the show since January, and has become really good friends with his two fellow lead stars.
He said: “Tim Rogers I know, his girlfriend is one of my friends. Rachel is fabulous, she’s savvy, and she’s intelligent and sensitive and very, very good at what she does. Her voice is beautiful, it’s emotional and fantastic. Anyone who comes through the X Factor process is really undertaking and surviving one of the harshest, hardest and most exposing audition processes that anyone could ever do, so if you come out the good side of that, you have to be quality.
“It’s a primarily young cast which is great because they bring a new dynamic and energy to it and they’re all very smart people, and they’re all kind which is nice. And we’re all getting on very well, which is great.”
Jesus Christ Superstar opens at The Broadway Theatre, Peterborough on Wednesday, November 17 and plays until the 21st.
Book your tickets now at www.thebroadwaypeterborough.co.uk, call 01733 822225 or call in at the box office at 46 Broadway, Peterborough.