Home Features Miami Alum Omar Lopez-Cepero Talks ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Arsht Center

Miami Alum Omar Lopez-Cepero Talks ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Arsht Center

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Omar Lopez-Cepero, Aaron LaVigne and the company of the North American Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Following critically acclaimed, sold-out engagements in the UK, the reimagined 50th Anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar will make its anticipated Miami premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County from May 31 – June 5, 2022. This 2017 Olivier awarding-winning production from Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre features a stellar cast including Miami natives Courtney Arango (Dance Captain, Swing) and David Andre (Ensemble) along with University of Miami alums and Florida natives Omar Lopez-Cepero (Judas) and Jenna Rubaii (Mary).

Jesus Christ Superstar continues the 15th anniversary season of Broadway in Miami. The Broadway in Miami season is presented by Florida Theatrical Association with presenting sponsor Bank of America in association with the Adrienne Arsht Center along with support from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Aaron LaVigne leads the show as Jesus, joined by Jenna Rubaii as Mary. Omar Lopez-Cepero joins the cast as Judas. The tour also features Alvin Crawford as Caiphas, Tommy Sherlock as Pilate, and Tyce Green as Annas. Pepe Nufrio returns to the tour as the standby for Jesus and Judas. 

The ensemble includes David Andre, Courtney Arango, Giuliana Augello, Wesley J. Barnes, Lydia Ruth Dawson, Hope Easterbrook, Derek Ferguson, Brian Golub, Brittany Rose Hammond, Garfield Hammonds, Quiana Holmes, Darrell T. Joe, Sheila Jones, Jacob Lacopo, Paul Louis Lessard, Eric A. Lewis, Tommy McDowell, Danny McHugh, Jenny Mollet, Sarah Parker, Erick Patrick, SandyRedd, and Cooper Stanton. 

Featuring lyrics and music by Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony winners Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the North American tour of this iconic musical is helmed by acclaimed director Timothy Sheader and cutting-edge choreographer Drew McOnie. Rounding out the creative team is set and costume design by 2016 Tony Award nominee Tom Scutt, lighting design by Lee Curran, sound design by Keith Caggiano and Nick Lidster, with music supervision by Tom Deering and North American music supervisor David Holcenberg.

Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Superstar’.

It was a pleasure to sit down with University of Miami Alum Omar Lopez-Cepero (Judas) for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

Omar Lopez Cepero and Alvin Crawford in the North American Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

At what age did you begin performing?

I always kind of had a love for music, but I was introduced to theater and music in middle school and high school. Before that I was much more of an athlete. It kind of found me and I have to give credit to my public-school teachers who saw that I had some talent and cultivated that.

What was your first paid gig?

After college, I wanted to go to New York. However, I wanted to do it with some money so I wouldn’t have the hassle of worrying about paying rent and I could focus on auditioning. Therefore, I got a job at Royale Caribbean on a cruise ship and saved up lots of money. That was my first paid gig in entertainment.

When did you know performing would be your career?

Probably in my senior year in high school. I was just going to apply to colleges and my teachers convinced me to audition for schools and I got a full scholarship as a musical theater major. That’s when I knew this was my career path.

Other than this show, what has been your favorite show or role so far?

One that will always stick with me was “On Your Feet.” I was in the tour when it played in Miami, which was very special to me. Most recently I got to play opposite my wife who played Gloria.

Speaking of your wife, how do you handle being on the road and not being together a lot?

I will be honest with you, it’s very difficult. We both love what we do, and we are very grateful for it, but its not easy. My wife is working in Moulin Rouge on Broadway right now. This is part of the sacrifices that comes with a career in the arts.

What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?

I would say Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. However, the thing that attracted me to musical theater is the creative process. So, to be part of a new show that is created from the ground up is really the dream.

What did you and your wife do/accomplish during the quarantine part of the pandemic? 

We moved to Atlanta for a year and a half to explore the TV and film scene there as they were coming back sooner than theater was. We perfected self-tape auditions. We also got to spend a lot of time with my family.

Is there additional pressure performing in this show since it’s so iconic?

Absolutely as the music has been around for 50 years, and the story everyone knows, it’s the last 10 days of Jesus’ life. Since the story is told through Judas’s eye, there is a lot of pressure. In addition, many famous actors have played this Judas. However, it’s an honor and a pleasure to play every performance.

Describe yourself in three words?

Competitive, caring, and optimistic

What do you do for fun?

I am a big golfer, it’s my rest and mind cleanse. It also scratches my competitiveness.

What’s the best and worst things about being on the road?

The best part is getting to see different cities and share art and theater with different cities around the country. The hardest part is being away from your family and living out of a hotel.

The company of the North American Tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Evan Zimmerman

What should our readers expect from this touring company of “Jesus Christ Superstar”?

I think what’s special about this production, is it really leads with the music first. The director wanted to highlight the music, and he did. Audiences that are Theater lovers will love this and non-theater lovers will appreciate the rock concert experience. It bridges the gap between theatrical and concert experience.

Another great thing about this production is that Aaron, who plays Jesus, has been a close friend of mine for 12 years. He was a groomsman in my wedding. So having this previous relationship helps tell the story for the relationship we tell on stage. Jesus & Judas had to be the best of friends for the betrayal to be as devastating as it was, and is every night on stage.

For more information on Omar, go to: Instagram.com/omarlopezcepero or visit his website at omarlopezcepero.com. 

Tickets to Jesus Christ Superstar are $35, $50, $70, $90 and $130* and may be purchased now at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.

For additional information about this production, please visit ustour.JesusChristSuperstar.com.

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