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Riviera Ridge School Teacher Miriam Dance Takes the Lead in Jesus Christ Superstar

April 5 @ 8:00 pm - April 14 @ 10:00 pm PDT

Miriam Dance, The Riviera Ridge School’s Director of Visual and Performing Arts, dedicates her days to inspiring youth to advance their musical theater talents and still makes time to pursue her own artistic passions. Dance has been busy this year, putting on the school’s musical at the New Vic Theater, performing in a Gospel Brunch at SoHO, and organizing the Arlington Theater’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Now she’s taking on the role of a lifetime, starring as Jesus Christ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, which runs April 5-14 at Center Stage Theater.

Out of the Box Theater Company’s version of the beloved musical departs from tradition with a modern spin, including an all-women cast. The idea was inspired by Morgan James’ “She is Risen” project, an album that features an all-female cast, orchestra, and engineers performing Jesus Christ Superstar.  Growing up immersed in church culture, Dance considered many times what it might be like to put herself in the shoes of Jesus Christ, but she never imagined she’d play Him on stage.

“When we think of someone who is chosen to sacrifice their life to save the world, what image comes to mind? Probably not a woman. Probably not a black woman. However, when we think about the things that Jesus represents, the words he spoke about love, forgiveness, treating others, how we want to be treated, etc., those are things that I can stand on and relate to,” Dance explained.

“We are excited to celebrate our educators and Artists in Residence. Miriam’s talent shines bright both in the classroom and on the stage; it is an honor to have her proudly represent our school and the performing arts in such an extraordinary way,” said Riviera Ridge Head of School Chris Broderick.

The production is further modernized with a present-day setting depicting Jesus and the apostles as activists and protesters. However, the classic American rock opera songs will hold to the 1970s sound popularized in the original production.

“The music is definitely edgy and soulful at the same time,” Dance said. “The set is very minimal, and scenes are brought to life mostly through movement.”

However edgy the production is, Dance believes it’s a story everyone can connect to, especially with a main character as iconic as Jesus.

“To see the humanity of such a figure is a captivating experience. Jesus was the son of the creator, and he came down to live a human life. What was that journey like? This musical explores this question and takes it to another level by asking the viewer to consider it through the lens of an all-women cast,” Dance said. “This show is a masterpiece, and I’m so excited for my students, colleagues, and the entire SB Community to be touched and entertained by it.”

Tickets can be purchased at CenterStageTheater.org.

At Riviera Ridge, we provide student-centered, individualized learning in a joyful and nurturing community, inspiring academic excellence and valuing difference. The educational vision for each Riviera Ridge graduate is to empower individual potential, inspire purpose beyond self, and cultivate social responsibility as they prepare for high school and beyond.

For more information, email info@rivieraridge.org or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.


April 5 @ 8:00 pm PDT
April 14 @ 10:00 pm PDT
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Center Stage Theatre
751 Paseo Nuevo Center
Santa Barbara, 93101
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(805) 963-0408
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Center Stage Theater
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