A funny thing happened to Rob and me seven years ago during one of our scouting trips to Mexico in the year before we made the move to Playa del Carmen. In April of 2004, we came to Playa, just the two of us, to shop for and hopefully purchase the land on which we would build our condos. One evening, after a long day with our agent, we wandered down 5th Ave. to the zocalo and found a nice quiet restaurant overlooking the square and down to the beach. There seemed to be quite a bit of activity in the park, lots of people setting up for an event of some sort. We saw curtains and scaffolding and lights and thought that perhaps a band would be playing that evening. We took a table on the street, a location that turned out to be house left seating for a community production of Jesucristo Superestrella. I couldn't believe it. Here we were, on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean watching what turned out to be a very good production of Jesus Christ Superstar! It was a magical evening and one that will remain as one of my favorite Playa moments. I couldn't wait to move to this bohemian seaside city to enjoy more of the same!

Jump ahead seven years and the same director, Shane Southcott, has returned from the great white north to reprise this production, this time in coordination with Playa del Carmen's premier music school, Explayarte, OnStage Dance Academy and two local preparatory schools, Instituto Tepayac and Bachillerato Naciones Unidas (El Papalote School). Performed for two nights in Xcaret's open theatre, the production successfully pulled together the efforts of these talented students to support some surprisingly good mature performers from the local community.

We attended the Thursday evening performance, which from my understanding was only the second time they had been able to run the entire production that space. With that in mind and the limitations Xcaret put on lighting and scenic design, they did a remarkable job pulling it all together. Reportedly, Friday evening was marred with unfortunate sound problems, but the production we saw was as close to perfect as could be expected. The band, comprised of all local music students was well orchestrated and mixed for the space. The principal characters were mic-ed and amplified well for the space but not so much as to completely overwhelm the ensemble of supporting voices.

As a recovering theatre professional (AEA Stage Manager), I can say that while there were conceptual issues (belly dancers and cowboys?) the stylized production was well conceived and executed. The highlights of the show, namely the vocal talents of the lead actors and the enthusiasm of the student ensemble, far outshone any lapses in directorial judgement. Notably excellent was the performance turned in by local musician Dani Kosh who delivered a remarkable performance as Judas. The success of Jesus Christ Superstar is hinged on finding a Judas who can project his conflicting emotions on the audience, being at once compelling and loathsome. Kosh easily achieved this with his energetic and accessible interpretation of this character. Who knew we had talent like this in Playa?

Paying close attention, I could pick out some really promising young voices amongst the supporting players and chorus members. This bodes well for the future of musical theatre in Playa del Carmen. Congratulations to the musicians, cast and crew and to everyone who supported this wonderful effort. Knowing all too well the time and coordination that goes into a production of this scale, I salute all of you and look forward to future performances. Let's hope we don't have to wait another seven years for someone to do this again!

Jesus Christ Superstar Playa del Carmen 

Jesucristo Superestrella Xcaret

Jesucristo Superestrella Xcaret

Jesucristo Superestrella Playa del Carmen 

Jesus Christ Superstar Playa del Carmen

Jesucristo Superestrella Playa del Carmen 

Jesus Christ Superstar Playa del Carmen