How Would Jesus Groove?

A Broadway Superstar returns to save your soul

TUE 12/21

When Jesus Christ Superstardebuted more than 30 years ago, people turned out to picket the blazingly hard-rock opera about Jesus' last days. But today, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's show is a theatrical standard. And while the Who's Tommy, which featured a Christlike figure, came earlier as a rock opera, the source material for Superstar is, oh, just a tad older. Like Shakespeare's plays, Superstar has been presented in a variety of settings, and this production marries Escape from New York with Rent, with Jesus as a goateed, boho urban hipster lording (no pun intended) over a vaguely Orwellian apocalyptic/futuristic world. But with the catchy songs and monster guitar riffs intact, it's a lot more fun than some dull sermon.

And Superstar's not-so-subtle comments on modern celebrity and the cycle of fame have even more resonance today. (We wouldn't be surprised if this latest production featured a cameo by Paris Hilton.) Opens Tuesday, December 21, and runs through Sunday, December 26, at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information and showtimes, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. $10 to $61. -- Bob Ruggiero

Eric Kunze and Lawrence Clayton
Craig Schwartz
Eric Kunze and Lawrence Clayton
Jake Johannsen
Courtesy of Jake Johannsen
Jake Johannsen
Bria Zari
Veronica M. Torres
Bria Zari

Drumming Up Some Cash

It's philanthropic and funky at the Christmas Jazz Show

Legendary drummer-bandleader Bubbha Thomas has been giving the gift of music to Houston for decades. He founded his multipronged Jazz Education program in the early '70s at a time when the nation was experiencing deep, bitter divisions over issues such as Vietnam and civil rights. Thomas continues to promote jazz to Houston-area youths, but his goodwill costs money, and public funding is scarce. That's why proceeds from his Christmas Jazz Show this week will benefit the Jazz Education program. It's a unique opportunity for philanthropic jazz lovers to make a difference and groove their asses off at the same time. Kyle Turner, Norma Zenteno, the Choraleers and the Trombone Quartet also appear. 8 p.m. Thursday, December 16, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1015 Holman. For information, call 713-528-4100 or visit www.jazzeducation.org. $30 in advance; $35 at the door. -- Scott Faingold

Get Jaked

Though he's not exactly a household name, funnyman Jake Johannsen's comedy special, This'll Take About an Hour, is listed in TV Guide's "50 Funniest Moments on Television." He's a comic's comic: When Bob Newhart was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, he specifically requested Johannsen to perform during the ceremony. Johannsen has manned many a stage over his nearly 20-year career, but he always delivers new material -- like observational rants on Iowa, dads and women -- when he stops by. Thursday, December 16, through Sunday, December 19. The Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information and showtimes, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improvhouston.com. $15 to $17. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman

Honey, She's Home

TUE 12/21

In a past life, Bria Zari was a college student and local journalist, penning pieces for the Houston Press and other publications around town. Now, she's a budding rock diva who jiggles it on stage wearing strategically placed fur and a big grin. A New York resident, she returns to Houston to front the band HoneyHut for a CD release party at the Rhythm Room. See if Ms. Zari loves company at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, December 18. 1815 Washington Avenue. For information, call 713-863-0943 or visit www.honeyhut.net. $5. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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