Press and Media
Rating: Four Stars (out of Five)
The Denver Center for Performing Arts closed out its Theatre Company's 2014/15 season with a world premiere of a rock musical The 12 that opened April 3 at The Stage Theatre.
The 12 is an original contemporary telling of what might have happened with the 12 disciples of Jesus during the three days following his death and the time of his resurrection.
Imagine you had left your life and career to dedicate yourself to a cause. To follow a charismatic leader who you loved and trusted. To believe together you could effect change for the greater good.
And then your leader was captured, tortured and executed.
You would be sad, confused, angry, volatile, tense and certainly afraid for your own life.
Playwright Robert Schenkkan captures all these emotions and more in his compelling scenario that takes place in the upper room of The Last Supper. Powerful, passionate rock music by Neil Berg intensifies the drama, and together the two award-winning creatives turn out a riveting play that engages the senses and stirs the imagination about what took place in that room more than 2,000 years ago.
After the crucifixion, the scruffy men - former fishermen and a farmer, a tax collector, a revolutionary - and Mary Magdelene, a former prostitute (and wife of Jesus, some say), gather to hide in the room, sparsely furnished with wooden tables and a few chairs. Bits of light peak through the cracks. Sounds of horse-pulled carts clomping over cobblestones can be heard from the window.
Inside, "Pete," "Matt," "Jimmy," "Bart" and the rest of the 12 in their profound grief try to figure out what to do next as they hotly discuss the events of the past week - the "teacher's" triumphant ride on a donkey into Jerusalem, his prediction of Peter's denial, the kiss betrayal by Judas and Judas' subsequent suicide. Schenkkan's present-day characters are truly human, and their physical, emotional and musical interaction makes this the ultimate relationship story. When they berate Mary Magdelene, passionately played by Christina Sajous, she reminds them in song: "Where were all of you when he hung there and died?" Only then do they accept her as one of the 12.
Mother Mary (Jeannette Bayardelle) has a small part, but her gospel-rock solo "Rain" is a powerhouse performance.
The voices in chorus are strong and clear; the acting is as good as the best of the Theatre Company's productions.
All in all, The 12 is thought-provoking, inspiring and deeply profound.
"Robert Schenkkan is incredibly brilliant," said Colin Hanlon who plays Peter. "He has written a story that has, without a doubt, the highest stakes I've ever encountered in theater."
The 12 plays The Stage Theatre through April 26. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. For tickets, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.