Episode 153 of Radio Free Charleston, “Dr. Pepper Shirt,” is the video you see at the top of this post. This is a special episode, comprised entirely of rehearsal footage from two of this coming weekend’s events, The 2nd Annual Alumni All-Star Jam at WVSU, and the CYAC production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

I always feel sort of honored to be invited to bring the RFC cameras into a rehearsal because it means that the performers trust me to document their work-in-progress, warts and all. It’s a gutsy move, and a sign of confidence on the part of the artists involved.

Of course, I have a bit of an “in” with one performer. Radio Free Charleston’s Resident Diva, Melanie Larch, appears in this special edition of RFC, as does Lady D, the WVSU Alumni All-Star Band and the cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Our first two songs are from The 2nd Annual WVSU Alumni All-Star Jam Band. These are early run-throughs, just the first or second time that the musicians have tackled these songs together.

The WVSU Alumni All Star Band: Lady D, Dick Stockton, Tim courts, Melanie Larch, Bill Hambleton, Jonathan Wesley and Nemo Pleasant.

The incredible band is comprised of Jonathan Wesley (Inspiration) on drums, Tim Courts (Bob Thompson Unit) on piano, Mike “Nemo” Pleasant on bass guitar, Dick Stockton on trumpet and Bill Hambleton on Trombone. Joining the line-up on Friday will be Dugan Carter (Full Flavor) on saxophone. Dugan was unavailable for our taping.

Lady D

We have this amazing band backing up Melanie on the Gershwin classic, “Summertime.” Lady D takes over to bring us Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us.”

Melanie Larch

An example of how we employ “guerillia filmmaking” techniques here on RFC is the way that we compensated for the fact that we were recording an early rehearsal, without any vocal microphones. You’ll notice Lady D and Mel singing directly into my Zoom H4 Digital Handy Recorder. I mixed the audio track from the Zoom with the audio from our cameras, and came up with what I hope is a decent final mix.

The 2nd Annual WVSU Alumni All-Star Jam happens Friday March 30th in the Davis Fine Arts Theatre on the campus of W.Va. State University starting at 7:30 PM. Marshall Petty from the Charleston WV Blues Society and Jack Rice from the West Virginia Blues Society will be on hand as well as special guest, Hubert “Rabbit” Jones. Admission is $10.00 (free to WVSU Students) and will benefit the College Book Fund. Call 304.766.3188 for more information.It should be a memorable night.

Playing us out this week, we bring you a sneak peek of The Contemporary Youth Arts Company production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This is another case where our production deadline would not allow us to record a dress rehearsal, and we had to go in before they had their microphones working.

If the real Jesus would have worn a shirt like that, Judas wouldn't have had to kiss him.

Audio-wise, this clip of the cast performing “Hosanna” does not really do the show justice. There was no vocal amplification, and “Jesus” Ryan Hardiman was a little under the weather, but with CYAC you know that you’re going to be treated to a first-class assemblage of talent. While we were recording this clip, we got a small taste of what director, Dan Kehde, musical director Mark Scarpelli and choreographer Robert Royce have in store, and it promises to be spectacular.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” opens 8 PM Thursday March 29, with subsequent performances 8 PM Friday and Saturday March 30th and 31st and 8 PM Thursday, Friday and Saturday April 5, 6, 7 with a Sunday matinee 2 pm on April 1.

Tickets are available at the door the evenings of the performances,and they are $6.00 for Students and Seniors (65 +) and $10.00 for adults. For advance reservations, call the WVSU Capitol Center box office at 342-6522 during regular business hours.

That’s it for the all-rehearsal episode of Radio Free Charleston. Next week’s show will be dedicated to unearthing a shocking, long-thought-lost artifact from the history of film in West Virginia.