A Sheffield teenager is swapping school for stage as he takes on the part of a lifetime: the iconic title role in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Dan Romano, 18, beat competition from actors ten years his senior to secure the role for Splinters Theatre Group at the Octagon Centre next month.
He’ll take time out of studying for his A-levels to perform to almost 500 people every night in the society’s special thirtieth anniversary production.
“I was so shocked when I got the part! I didn’t think I was capable of it at all, I’d never dreamed of singing that high before. But the team insisted so I gave the audition a go and next thing I know I’d got the part.” Dan explains.
“The show is such a clever piece to me. It presents this divine untouchable figure as a flawed human being and I really gravitated towards that.”
Featuring such famous songs as Gethsemane, I Don’t Know How To Love Him, and Superstar, this rock opera is a gritty retelling of the last seven days of Jesus’s life which is reimagined by Splinters in the present day.
The part of Jesus is known as one of the most vocally challenging in musical theatre, and Dan’s spent a lot of time perfecting his performance:
“It’s hard because of the amount of dynamic I have to sing with, I’m having to use every single technique I know whether it’s belting, falsetto, mix, screaming, but it’s that variety that makes it fun.”
“Rehearsals have been so good. The nature of the show is quite different to other musicals; it’s not your colourful song and dance show, it’s far more gritty, so it’s taken a hot minute for people to adjust to that.”
Dan’s hoping to use this huge role as a springboard into a professional career in acting, with hopes of attending drama school once he’s got his A-Levels.
He’s been part of Splinters for three years but has never taken on such a big part for the society.
Splinters is a youth group, usually welcoming performers aged 14 to 30, but to celebrate its thirtieth anniversary is inviting members from years gone by back to the stage for the production.
“The variety between older and younger members is great because they both bring very different things to the table,” Dan says.
“It goes both ways, you’ve got younger members looking up to the older ones and taking after them but we’ve also had some of our younger members stepping up and giving some of the biggest contributions to this show.”
The show will be performed by a 40 strong cast, and an additional choir, on a purpose built stage at The Octagon to create an arena feel.
Dan thinks it’ll be something really special:
“To anyone coming: forget everything you think you know about Jesus Christ Superstar, because we’ve put a completely different spin on it.
“This production is bold, loud and in your face and is sure to be something different that hasn’t been attempted in Sheffield am dram before.”
Jesus Christ Superstar runs at The Octagon from 3rd – 6th April. Tickets can be bought online at www.gigantic.com/jesus-christ-superstar-tickets or by calling 01142658688.