‘They came to Derry to find Jesus’

Kieran Connor as Jesus Christ Superstar.
Kieran Connor as Jesus Christ Superstar.

From the stalls to the stage, local man Kieran Connor says playing the role of Jesus Christ Superstar in Letterkenny will be the most amazing night of his life

Wearing nothing but a loin cloth and nailed to the cross, Kieran Connor is only too aware that the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ will be the most demanding of his life.

Kieran Connor.

Kieran Connor.

The 28 year-old takes to the stage of An Grianan Theatre on March 1 with the Letterkenny Musical Society for a week long run of Jesus Christ Superstar.

And for Kieran, a former pupil of the Immaculate Conception College, it’s a dream come true. He was just 16 years-old when he first saw Jesus Christ Superstar when it came to the Millennium Forum in 2004.

“That show really inspired me,” said Kieran, “and I hoped that one day I’d get the opportunity to be in it myself.”

Up to that point Kieran had been quiet and shy - but after he saw Jesus Christ Superstar he got up the bottle to audition for the school show securing the role of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, and he’s never looked back. He’s since had roles with the Londonderry Musical Society and Grove Theatre group, cutting his teeth in local plays and pantomimes.

“I was lucky enough to work on the stage with two masters - Willie Barrett and Paddy Taylor,” he said. “The Grove was so inspirational for me. They are all about inspiring people, It was the same with the Londonderry Musical Society who were like a family to me and I was blessed to get the opportunity to work with them.”

When An Grianan Theatre first opened 16 years ago, Jesus Christ Superstar was the first musical that was ever staged there.

“Nadine Coyle’s Dad Niall played Jesus back then,” said Kieran. “And they came back over the Swilly again to find Jesus again - me. The Letterkenny Musical society have given me a fantastic welcome. Jesus Christ Superstar, for those who don’t know the show, looks at the last week of Christ’s life through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, played by Giles Murray.”

For Kieran - the biggest and most daunting part of the musical is being nailed to the cross.

“I haven’t been on the cross yet,” he admitted. “But on stage I’ll be on the cross for nine minutes so it will be quite intense, and all I’m wearing is a loin cloth. It’s one of the most intense scenes you’ll see in the theatre. But the LMS are pulling out all the stops to make sure it is perfect, it’s really important that we get it right and make sure I’m comfortable. The biggest problem is that I’m bald, so they’ve had to get me a wig. If you see me without the wig and then with the wig you’ll get a bit of a shock. My favourite song is Poor Jerusalem but the biggest song is Gethsemane because it’s just me on the stage. I get through it by pretending I’m singing it to my own father.”

When he’s not on stage by day Kieran works as a purchasing manager for AE Global. He is married to Feresha and they have two kids Kieran Lucas and Della Rose.

For tickets log on to http://www.angrianan.com/