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Jesus Christ Superstar

                   
Jesus Christ Superstar
Jcs us cover.png
The US album cover for the 1970 release of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Music Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics Tim Rice
Productions 1970 Concept album
1971 Broadway
1972 Paris
1972 West End
1973 film
International productions
1977 Broadway
1996 West End
1998 UK Tour
2000 Broadway revival
2001 UK Tour
2002 North Vernon
2003 US Tour
2004 UK Tour
2011 Stratford
2011 La Jolla Playhouse
2012 Broadway revival
2012 UK Arena Tour

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started off as a rock opera concept recording before its first staging on Broadway in 1971. The musical is based very loosely on the Gospels' account of the last week of Jesus' life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem, and ending with the crucifixion. It highlights political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus, struggles that are not in the Bible. The resurrection is not included. It therefore largely follows the form of a traditional passion play.

The work's depiction offers a free interpretation of the psychology of Jesus and the other characters. A large part of the plot focuses on the character of Judas, who is depicted as a tragic figure who is dissatisfied with the direction in which Jesus steers his disciples. 20th-century attitudes and sensibilities as well as contemporary slang pervade the lyrics, and ironic allusions to modern life are scattered throughout the depiction of political events. Stage and film productions accordingly feature many intentional anachronisms.

Contents

  Plot

  Act I

The apostle Judas Iscariot expresses in musical monologue his concern over Jesus' rising popularity as a "king" and the negative repercussions that will have. He strongly criticizes Jesus for accepting his followers' unrealistic views and for not heeding his concerns ("Heaven On Their Minds"). While Judas still loves Jesus, he believes that Jesus is just a man, not God, and worries that Jesus' following will be seen as a threat to the Roman Empire which would then punish both Jesus and his associates. Judas' warning falls on deaf ears, as Jesus' followers have their minds set on going to Jerusalem with Jesus. As they ask Jesus when they will be going to Jerusalem, Jesus tells them to stop worrying about the future, since whatever will happen is determined by God ("What's the Buzz?").

Recognizing that Jesus is irritated by the badgering and lack of understanding from his followers, Mary Magdalene tries to help Jesus relax ("Everything's Alright"). Judas is concerned that Jesus is associating with Mary, a prostitute. It seems to Judas that Jesus is contradicting his own teaching, and he worries that this apparent lack of judgment will be used against Jesus and his followers ("Strange Thing Mystifying"). Jesus tells Judas that Mary is with him (Jesus) now, and unless Judas is without sin he should not judge the character of others. Jesus then reproaches his apostles for being "shallow, thick and slow" and somewhat bitterly answers that not a single one of them cares about him. Mary Magdalene tries to assure Jesus that "Everything's Alright" while anointing him with oil. Judas angrily insists that the money used to obtain the oil should have been used to help the poor instead. Jesus sadly explains that he and his followers do not have the resources to alleviate poverty and that once his followers no longer have him, they will lose their path.

  Jesus casts the money changers out of the Temple.

Meanwhile, Caiaphas (the high priest), Annas, and other Jewish priests who have been studying Jesus' movements meet to discuss Jesus and his disciples. Jesus' growing following consists of Jews unwilling to accept the Romans as their rulers, and the priests believe that Jesus may become seen as a threat to the Roman Empire. If the Romans retaliate, many Jews will suffer, even those who are not following Jesus. Caiaphas tells them they are "fools" for not seeing the inevitable consequence of Jesus' activities. He believes there could be great bloodshed and the stakes are "frighteningly high". For the greater good, he has to "crush him completely, so like John before him, this Jesus must die". Annas and the other priests concur. ("This Jesus Must Die"). As Jesus and his followers arrive exultantly in Jerusalem ("Hosanna"), they are confronted by Caiaphas, who demands that Jesus disband them, which Jesus says would be futile and change nothing. Jesus is approached by his apostle Simon the Zealot, who suggests that Jesus lead his mob in a war against Rome and gain absolute power ("Simon Zealotes"). Jesus rejects this suggestion, stating that none of his followers understand what true power is, nor do they understand his true message ("Poor Jerusalem").

Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, has had a dream in which he meets with Jesus and that he, Pilate, will receive all of the blame for Jesus' death ("Pilate's Dream"), a song added after the original recording that was used in the movie. Jesus arrives at the Temple in Jerusalem and finds that it is being used for selling everything from weapons to prostitutes and drugs. He is furious and demands that the merchants and money changers leave the temple ("The Temple"). Angry, disconsolate, and tired by his burden, Jesus wanders off but is confronted by lepers, cripples, and beggars, all wanting to be healed. Even though he heals some, their number increases, and he is overwhelmed. Unable to solve everyone's problems, Jesus tells the crowd to heal themselves. Mary Magdalene finds Jesus upset and tells him to rest ("Everything's Alright" reprise). While Jesus is asleep, Mary acknowledges that she is in love with Jesus, unlike any man she has known before ("I Don't Know How to Love Him").

Judas seeks out the priests and promises to help them against Jesus, while belaboring that he is acting with unselfish motives and that Jesus himself would approve if he knew those motives ("Damned for All Time"). Caiaphas demands that Judas reveal the location of Jesus so that the authorities can apprehend him. In exchange for the information, Judas is offered money ("Blood Money"). Judas initially turns down the offer, but he agrees when Caiaphas tells him to think of it as a "fee" and that he can assuage his conscience by using the money charitably. Judas decides that it would be better to turn Jesus in before his popularity leads to the deaths of Jesus and his followers, Judas included. Judas reveals that on Thursday night, Jesus will be at the Garden of Gethsemane.

  Act II

At what Jesus knows will be the Last Supper, he pours wine and passes bread for his apostles. He's very aware of the ordeal he faces and a little stung when the others don't pay much attention to him. "For all you care this wine could be my blood / For all you care this bread could be my body," he remarks ("The Last Supper"), in a revision of the Christian doctrine of the Eucharist. He asks them to remember him when they eat and drink. Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times "in just a few hours" and that one of them will betray him. Judas admits he is the one ("cut the dramatics, you know very well who"), and angrily accuses Jesus of acting recklessly and egoistically. Following an admission that he doesn't understand Jesus' decisions, he leaves to bring the Roman soldiers. The remaining eleven apostles fall asleep, and Jesus prays. He admits his doubts, fears and anger to God, that he is tired and has done all he can; he asks powerfully if any of it had meaning and implores God not let him suffer the horrible death planned for him. He feels disillusioned with his quest as the Messiah, does not understand what it has achieved, and wishes to give up. Receiving no answer, Jesus realizes that he cannot defy God's will, and surrenders to God; his prayer ends with a request that God takes him while he is clear on the matter ("Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)").

  The disciples resist Jesus' arrest, but Jesus tells them to put away their swords.[dubious ][1]

Judas arrives with Roman soldiers and identifies Jesus by kissing him on the cheek. Jesus is arrested, and his apostles attempt to fight the soldiers. Jesus tells them to let the soldiers take him to Caiaphas. On the way, a mob (acting like - and sometimes represented as - modern-day news reporters) asks Jesus what he plans to do, but Jesus declines to comment. When Jesus is brought to trial before the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas asks if he is the son of God. Jesus responds: "That's what you say, you say that I am." This answer is affirmative according to Jewish custom, and that provides enough justification for the high priests to send Jesus to Pontius Pilate ("The Arrest"). Meanwhile, Jesus' apostle Peter is confronted by an old man, a soldier and a maid, and Peter denies to each that he knows Jesus. Mary asks Peter why he denied Jesus, and Peter responds that he had to do it in order to save himself. Mary wonders how Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times ("Peter's Denial").

Pilate asks Jesus if he is the son of God. Jesus gives the same answer that he gave Caiaphas: "that's what you say."[2] Since Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate says that he is not under his jurisdiction and sends him to King Herod ("Pilate and Christ"). As Jesus is dragged away, the chorus asks where Jesus' power has gone ("Hosanna"). In a mocking ragtime number, King Herod asks Jesus to prove his divinity by performing miracles, offering to free him if he complies; but Jesus ignores him. Herod decides that Jesus is just another phony messiah and sends him back to Pilate ("Herod's Song (Try It and See)"). The apostles and Mary Magdalene remember when they first began following Jesus, and wish "Could We Start Again, Please?"[3] Feeling extreme guilt for Jesus' harsh treatment by the authorities, and panicking that he will be seen as responsible, Judas expresses regret to the priests, fearing he will forever be remembered as a traitor. Caiaphas and Annas say that what he has done will save everyone and that he should not feel remorse for his actions before throwing him out of their temple. Left alone, recognition dawns that memories of this could haunt the rest of his life, that God chose him to be the one to betray Jesus, and that he has been used as a pawn for the "foul bloody crime"; he commits suicide by hanging himself from a tree ("Judas' Death").

At Jesus' trial, Pilate asks the crowd if they would crucify Jesus, their king, and they declare: "We have no king but Caesar!"[4] Pilate remembers the dream he had about the crowd and the unjust execution of Jesus ("Pilate's Dream" instrumental). Pilate tells the crowd that, while Jesus should be imprisoned, he does not deserve to die. Pilate demands that the crowd give him a reason to condemn Jesus, and the crowd breaks into a pep rally-style cheer about how Jesus is a blasphemer and has defied Rome. Pilate calls the crowd hypocrites, as he knows they hate Roman rule. He attempts to satisfy their bloodlust by having Jesus whipped, counting thirty-nine bloody strokes. Pilate pleads with Jesus to defend himself; but Jesus says weakly that everything has been determined (by God), and Pilate cannot change it. The crowd still screams for Jesus to be crucified, and Pilate recalls his duty to keep the peace. He reluctantly agrees to crucify Jesus to keep the crowd from getting violent ("Trial Before Pilate (Including the Thirty-Nine Lashes)"). Pilate then washes his hands of Jesus' death: "I wash my hands of your demolition/Die if you want to, you innocent puppet".

As Jesus prepares to be crucified, he sees the spirit of Judas. Judas questions why Jesus chose to arrive in the manner that he did, and if what happened to him was really part of a divine plan, but Jesus does not say ("Superstar"). Jesus is put on a cross and slowly dies. ("The Crucifixion"; "John Nineteen: Forty-One").[5]

  Principal roles

Character Voice Type Description
Jesus Christ Tenor (A2-E5) Title role, leader of the twelve Apostles, a man, called the "Son of God" and the "King of the Jews".
Judas Iscariot Tenor (C3-D5) Arguably the protagonist of the show. One of the twelve apostles of Jesus; concerned for the poor and the consequences of Jesus' fame
Mary Magdalene Mezzo-soprano (F3-E♭5) A female follower of Jesus who finds herself falling in love with him.
Pontius Pilate Baritone (G2-B4) Governor of Judea who foresees the events of Jesus' crucifixion from beginning to aftermath in a dream and finds himself being presented with that very situation
Caiaphas Bass (C♯2-F4) High priest who sees Jesus as a threat to the nation
Annas Baritone (G2-D5)
Fellow priest at the side of Caiaphas who is persuaded by Caiaphas into seeing Jesus as a threat
Peter Baritone (A2-G4) One of Jesus' twelve apostles; denies Jesus three times upon the night of Jesus' arrest to save himself
Simon Zealotes Tenor (G3-B♭5) One of Jesus' twelve apostles; urges Jesus to lead his followers into battle against the Romans
King Herod Tenor (C♯3-G4) The King of Galilee; Jesus is brought to him for judgment after first being taken to Pilate

  Musical numbers

Act I
  • "Overture" – Orchestra
  • "Heaven on Their Minds" – Judas
  • "What's the Buzz" / "Strange Thing Mystifying" – Apostles, Jesus, Mary, Judas, Peter, Woman
  • "Everything's Alright" – Mary, Women, Judas, Jesus, Apostles
  • "This Jesus Must Die" – Annas, Caiaphas, Apostles, Priests
  • "Hosanna" – Apostles, Caiaphas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • "Simon Zealotes" / "Poor Jerusalem" – Apostles, Simon, Jesus, Ensemble
  • "Pilate's Dream" – Pilate
  • "The Temple" – Ensemble, Jesus
  • "Everything's Alright (reprise)" – Mary, Jesus
  • "I Don't Know How to Love Him" – Mary
  • "Damned for All Time" / "Blood Money" – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus
Act II
  • "The Last Supper" – Apostles, Jesus, Judas
  • "Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)" – Jesus
  • "The Arrest" – Judas, Jesus, Peter, Apostles, Ensemble, Annas, Caiaphas
  • "Peter's Denial" – Maid by the Fire, Peter, Soldier, Old Man, Mary
  • "Pilate and Christ" – Pilate, Annas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • "King Herod's Song (Try it and See)" – Herod, Dancers
  • "Could We Start Again Please?" – Mary, Apostles, Peter
  • "Judas' Death" – Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, Chorus
  • "Trial Before Pilate (Including the Thirty-Nine Lashes)" – Pilate, Caiaphas, Annas, Jesus, Ensemble
  • "Superstar" – Judas, Soul Sisters, Angels
  • "The Crucifixion" – Jesus, Ensemble
  • "John Nineteen: Forty-One" – Orchestra

  From album to Broadway

  The UK album cover for the 1969 release of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The musical was first produced as an album before being staged on Broadway and later in London's West End. On the original album, the part of Jesus was sung by Ian Gillan, the lead singer of Deep Purple who later also worked with Black Sabbath and others, and that of Judas by Murray Head. The future Gary Glitter had a one-liner as a priest and Michael d'Abo appeared as King Herod. The title song, "Superstar", sung by Judas (Murray Head), and "I Don't Know How to Love Him", sung by Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman) about her relationship with Jesus, were both big hits.

The original album has a rock flavor that is very different from Lloyd Webber's later work. This is in part due to the emotive singing of Murray Head and Ian Gillan and the playing of well-known rock session musicians such as guitarists Neil Hubbard and Chris Spedding, bassist Alan Spenner and drummer Bruce Rowland. The musical arrangements are often multi-layered, featuring rock and classical elements, and contain many abruptly shifting dynamics and time signatures.

  Early unauthorized community productions

On April 4, 1971, the musical, known to aficionados of rock from its original album, was presented for the first time in a live, concert performance by the Ravenswood Rock Group, sponsored by the Bel Canto Opera at New York's Madison Avenue Baptist Church.[6]

In June 1971, the first U.S. staged version was performed by students at Southold High School in Southold, New York.[7] However, other unauthorized productions were also going on at the time, eliciting lawsuits by the authors, eventually shutting down several hundred productions before the official premiere (and becoming a benchmark in copyright law).[8] The show remains a favorite for community and regional theater, sometimes with women taking male roles (particularly Judas).[citation needed]

  First authorized concert productions

On July 11, 1971, the first authorized American concert took place in front of an audience of 13,000 people at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Civic Arena with Jeff Fenholt singing the role of Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene.[9]

  Original Broadway production

The show opened on Broadway on October 12, 1971, directed by Tom O'Horgan, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. The Broadway production received mixed reviews, as reviewers from the New York Times deemed it to be a heartless overhyped production[citation needed]; Andrew Lloyd Webber has also criticized it harshly.[10] The show starred Jeff Fenholt as Jesus, Ben Vereen as Judas and Bob Bingham as Caiaphas. Barry Dennen, the Pilate on the original album had been living and working in London when he recorded the album. He was back in the States in time to play Pilate on Broadway. Yvonne Elliman, the original Mary Magdalene, was also a part of the cast. Kurt Yaghjian sang Annas. Ted Neeley (who was cast as a Christ understudy), Paul Jabara, Samuel E. Wright, and Anita Morris also appeared in the cast. Carl Anderson stepped into the role of Judas when Vereen fell ill, and the two performers later took turns playing the role. The show closed on June 30, 1973 after 711 performances. It was noted that John Lennon was offered the role to play Jesus Christ in the Broadway production, however, Lennon stated that he would be interested in playing the role, but, only if his wife, Yoko Ono, would play the role of Mary Magdalena. Because of Lennon's response, the offer was withdrawn.

  Controversy

The Broadway show and subsequent productions were condemned by some religious groups. Tim Rice was quoted as saying "It happens that we don't see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place."[11][12] Some Christians consider these comments to be blasphemous, the character of Judas too sympathetic and some of his criticisms of Jesus offensive.[13] At the same time, some Jews said that it bolstered the anti-Semitic claim that the Jews are responsible for Jesus' death by showing most of the villains as Jewish (Caiaphas and the other priests, Herod) and showing the crowd in Jerusalem calling for the crucifixion.[14][15] The musical was banned in South Africa for being "irreligious".[16]

  Other 1970s productions

Jesus Christ Superstar was performed as an oratorio version in a series of performances in various university clubs in 1971 in Hungary. The performances in Budapest took place even before the Broadway premiere. The Budapest version was based on the original studio version, and the band and orchestra parts were transcribed to a five piece rockband. The group Korong played the music, some of its singers sang the roles, completed with other pop singers. The performances were initiated by Korong's lyrics writer, Tibor Miklós, who adapted the words into Hungarian. After a few enormously successful performances in Budapest's university clubs; however, the piece was banned.

Superstar opened at the Palace Theatre in London in 1972, starring Paul Nicholas as Jesus, Stephen Tate as Judas and Dana Gillespie as Mary. It was directed by Australian Jim Sharman. This production was much more successful, running for eight years and becoming the United Kingdom's longest-running musical at the time (it was later surpassed by other works but remains the fifth longest-running). During its 20th anniversary, the production featured Paul Nicholas from the original cast as Jesus.

In Sweden, the show began a five-day run at The Scandinavium in Göteborg playing to 74,000 people (a record at the time). Starring as Mary Magdalene was pop star Agnetha Fältskog (in her pre-ABBA days) The première was 18 February 1972. See Jesus Christ Superstar (Swedish version 1972).

In May 1972 the original Australian production opened at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney, later moving to the Palais Theatre in Melbourne.[17] Directed by Jim Sharman, the cast featured Trevor White (who dubbed Rocky's voice in the Sharman-directed The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as Jesus, Jon English as Judas, and Michelle Fawdon (1972–1973) and Marcia Hines (1973–1974) as Mary Magdalene (Hines was the first black woman to play this role); other cast members included Reg Livermore, Doug Parkinson, John Paul Young and Stevie Wright. It ran until February 1974.

In 1973, the show opened in Paris, France, at the Théâtre de Chaillot. It had been adapted to French by Pierre Delanoë, who had already adapted Godspell two years before. The title role was sung by Daniel Beretta (later the French voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Maria Magdalena by Anne-Marie David (winner of the Eurovision song contest the same year). The critics were unimpressed and the production stopped after 30 shows.

In 1974, Jesus Christ Superstar was staged in Peru by a group of fans, who rehearsed throughout the summer of 1974 under the direction of Lalo Lopez Therese, director, and pioneer of rock opera in Peru. Many young people joined the production: actors, dancers, and members of the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Raymond Krammer, Catholic University Choir, plus a live rock band, Tripping Foxter. Peru was the first South American country to present the musical.

In 1976, Jesus Christ Superstar began its first U.S. national tour with a company managed by Laura Shapiro Kramer. The tour continued until 1980. In 1977, the musical was performed at the first annual Illinois High School Theater Festival. Jesus was portrayed, in this rendition, by an African-American woman.

In the late 1970s, two regional productions premiered in California, both under the auspices of the California Youth Theatre organization. The first production featured Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, and Yvonne Elliman reprising their respective stage and movie roles of Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene; the second production again featured both Neeley and Anderson.

  1980s productions

Emilio de Soto directed the English-language South American premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar in Venezuela in 1981, with 163 actors, an orchestra of 37 musicians, and a live rock band.

From 1982 to 1984, an Australian production toured both Australia and South-East Asia, this time directed by Trevor White (who was also reprising his role of Jesus). The cast featured Doug Parkinson as Judas, and Marcia Hines (reprising her role as Mary Magdalene); other cast members included Raymond Duparc as Pontius Pilate, and Michael-John Hurney as Peter.

In 1986 Musical Director Anthony Von Eckstein and Singer/Director Pearl Heart (former Janis Joplin stand in for Kosmic Blues band featuring Sam Andrews and Snooky Flowers formerly of Big Brother and the Holding Company and Kosmic Blues Band respectively.)[citation needed] began collaboration for shows via the Milbrae Theater. But the production would not be fully realized until Von Eckstein finally found the right singers he needed for this formidable production. In the mid-late 1980s, Von Eckstein had been working at a San Francisco rock club called The Underground where he and Michael Krishe (Technical Director) had been booking local rock bands.[original research?] It was at that nightclub in the Summer of 88 that Jesus (Danny Knop), Judas (Freeman Young), Mary( Jennifer Courtney), and Annas (Kevin Mead) would all be discovered.[original research?] With the a strong trilogy for the core principles of Superstar, Pearl Heart was then able to find investors interested in backing the show for a major theater production. For various reasons after three months the investors withdrew from the project.[original research?]

With nowhere else to go Von Eckstein who had previously already booked a 'dress rehearsal at the DNA Club followed through with the performance with the cast and orchestra. From there the production mounted on a "in concert" tour of Bay Area clubs and concert halls under the name of "The Superstar Band", starting in the summer of 1989. The final performances were held at the On Broadway Theater in December 1990 and again at the DNA Lounge in 1991.

  1990s productions

In 1990, Jesus Christ Superstar was played at Det Norske Teatret in Oslo, Norway (in Norwegian).

The North American touring revival of "Superstar" in 1992, titled the AD Anniversary Tour, starred Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson reprising their respective 1973 film roles as Jesus and Judas and getting rave reviews for their performances. This production also starred both Dennis DeYoung of Styx and James O'Neil (Founding Artistic Director of the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura, CA) as Pontius Pilate, and Syreeta, Irene Cara, and Christine Rea as Mary Magdalene. Originally expected to run for three to four months, the tour ended up running for five years.

A 1992 Australian concert cast - starring John Farnham as Jesus, Jon Stevens as Judas, Kate Ceberano as Mary Magdalene and Angry Anderson as King Herod - was created to great critical acclaim. The Australian production was produced by the entrepreneur Harry M. Miller Garry Van Egmond and International Management Group. In 1994, a New Zealand production (also produced by Harry M. Miller Garry Van Egmond and International Management Group) saw changes in production style, such as the rock guitar solo introducing the show played by a guitarist on a spotlighted, elevated platform, and costuming which included a complete lack of sandals. Jesus was played by Darryl Lovegrove; Caiaphas by Frankie Stevens, elder brother of Jon Stevens (the two played together on stage when the production toured Australia, with Jon in his previous role as Judas); and Judas by the stage, television and cinema star Jay Laga'aia. Red laser was used to represent the whip during the scourging; similarly lasers were used for the wounds of the crucifixion. The show closed with an expanding cone of green laser, centered on Jesus' crucified corpse, shining through mist to eventually envelop the whole audience.

Also in 1994, a stage version titled Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection was produced and performed in Atlanta, Austin and Seattle. This version featured many musicians from the Atlanta alternative scene, including the Indigo Girls members Amy Ray as Jesus and Emily Saliers as Mary Magdalene, and fellow guitarist Michael Lorant as Judas.

In 1996, Superstar was revived in London. Directed by Gale Edwards, this version of Superstar was updated to appeal to a new generation of fans. It starred Steve Balsamo and Zubin Varla as Jesus and Judas, and Joanna Ampil as Mary Magdalene, accordingly on the request of Lloyd Webber himself, and was released as an album as Jesus Christ Superstar (1996 London Cast). Referred to as the "Lyceum Production," it was relatively successful. This eventually led Gale Edwards to restage the show for a UK tour, followed by a video starring Glenn Carter as Jesus and Jerome Pradon as Judas. This "new" interpretation of the show was revived on Broadway in 2000 again starring Carter, but a last minute change made Tony Vincent, who had played Simon in the video, step into the role of Judas. It opened to mixed reviews and closed quickly. It was more popular in its UK/European run; it opened in November 1996 and closed in March 1998.

A concert version was performed on November 15–16, 1998 to launch the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura, California. Three performances were given, starring Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson and the company from the AD Anniversary Tour. All three shows were sold out.

  2000s productions

A new Broadway production opened at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in April 2000 and ran for 161 performances.[1]

In 2002, a national tour was begun with ex-Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach as Jesus, and Carl Anderson once again as Judas. Bach received mixed reviews, while Anderson was again praised. In April 2003, following a disagreement with the director, Bach walked out on the cast and was replaced with Broadway star Eric Kunze. Carl Anderson continued on the tour for three more months, but eventually left the show after being diagnosed with leukemia and died in 2004. He was replaced by Lawrence Clayton, who had appeared as Simon and understudied the part of Judas in the previous national tour. The tour closed shortly after Anderson's departure.

Also in 2002, October, a production of Jesus Christ Superstar was taken to Barbados to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. The show starred Steve Balsamo, once again as Jesus, Miles Guerrini as Judas and Yildiz Hussein as Mary Magdalene, as well as several young performers from England. The production took place in the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in St Michael.

In August 2004 a new national UK tour began, directed by Bill Kenwright. Originally scheduled to end in December, the tour's success resulted in a longer run, and it continued through August 2005. Glenn Carter reprised his role as Jesus, with British pop singer James Fox as Judas, and Emma Dears as Mary Magdalene.

Later that same year, a London production with an international cast performed sell-out tours of Scandinavia. Most of the ensemble cast was made up of performers from the 2001 film directed by Gale Edwards. Principal roles were played by Australian singer Peter Murphy (Jesus), American actress Kristen Cummings (Mary), English actor Jon Boydon née Stokes (Judas), and French actor and singer Jerome Pradon (King Herod) who had previously played Judas in the Gale Edwards film. The production almost didn't happen, as a prominent West End star had to withdraw from the production unexpectedly. A last minute replacement was found in veteran Australian actor Michael-John Hurney (Pontius Pilate).

A live-in-concert, one-night only, performance of JCS took place at The Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles on August 13, 2006, reuniting Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen from the 1973 film, Broadway and Los Angeles productions of the show, as well as Ben Vereen (the original Judas on Broadway), Clint Holmes as Simon and Jack Black as Herod. The performance also featured Larry Friedman as Annas, Chris Carey as Caiaphas, and Chuck DiMaria as one of the priests (all three were featured performers in the AD Anniversary Tour between 1993 and 1997), as well as the Agape Choir. The performance benefitted YouTHeatre-America! and The Ricardo Montalban Theatre.

In 2006, a tour (originally billed as "The Ted Neeley Farewell Tour", but was renamed as the new "A.D. Tour") starring Ted Neeley, reprising his role as Jesus, began in September and played almost five years to date. The tour was slated to run through 2007, but audience and critical reception for the show was so great that it booked through early May 2010. Corey Glover, the lead vocalist of rock band Living Colour, made his national stage debut as Judas. Glover left the show in December 2008 to rejoin Living Colour. Actor James Delisco replaced Glover as Judas through 2009; American Idol season 8 Top 50 finalist John Twiford replaced Delisco for the fourth and final leg of the tour.

Since 2004, a selection of Chilean heavy metal musicians have developed the first heavy metal version of the full opus, named Jesucristo Metalstar (Jesus Christ Metalstar). Annually they perform this version in Santiago under the leading of Rodrigo Galaz as Jesus and Ives Gulle as Judas. The show has received excellent critics from the local press.[18]

In Boston, frontman Gary Cherone of the bands Extreme, Van Halen and Tribe of Judah portrayed Jesus in productions in 1994, 1996 and 2003. He also portrayed Judas in 2000.

  2010s productions

On March 25–27, 2010, the Canadian-born electronic musician Peaches performed a one-woman version of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Hebbel am Ufer Theater in Berlin. Pianist and rapper Chilly Gonzales accompanied her on piano. She also performed at the Kampnagel Theater in Berlin on May 4, and at the Hebbel Theater from May 31 to June 2.[19] Artforum stated in their review, “Not only did Peaches set it off, she managed to surprise us all by showing off an expansive vocal range, a musician’s natural sensitivity to the dynamics of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score, and an emotive prowess that is rarely if ever displayed in her own, less holy, music.”[20]

A new production of Jesus Christ Superstar was mounted at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, as part of its 2011 season. Performances began on May 16, 2011 and ran until November 6. The show is directed by Des McAnuff, director of the original Broadway productions of Jersey Boys and Big River and of the 1993 Broadway production of Tommy. Jesus is played by Paul Nolan, Judas by Josh Young, Mary Magdalene by Chilina Kennedy, Pontius Pilate by Brent Carver, and King Herod by Bruce Dow. On July 18, 2011, it was announced that the production will move to La Jolla Playhouse and play from November 18 until December 31. On October 4, 2011 it was announced that this production would transfer to the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway, with previews beginning March 1, 2012 and an official opening on March 22, 2012 with Tom Hewitt taking over the role of Pilate.[21] Some reviews were quite positive,[22] but theatre review aggregator Curtain Critic gave the production a middling score of 58 out of 100.[23] The revival was nominated for two Tony Awards, one for Best Revival, and another for Best Featured actor for Josh Young's portrayal of Judas.[24] Neither awards was won.

On May 16th 2012 Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that a new ITV primetime show ‘Superstar’ will give the UK public the chance to decide who will play the starring role of ‘Jesus’ in an upcoming arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. The arena tour, starting 21 September 2012, will also star comedian Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot, former Spice Girl Melanie C as Mary Magdalene and BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles as King Herod.[25] Tickets for most venues went on sale on the 18th of May 2012.

  Other international productions

The musical has been produced in Ireland, Brazil, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Italy, France, Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Australia, The Philippines, South Africa, Panama, Colombia (Misi Group), Croatia (Theater Komedija), Bolivia (where it was also released as a TV movie), Portugal and many more. Two notable Jesuses were Takeshi Kaga of Iron Chef fame in the 1976 Japanese version, and the singer Camilo Sesto in the 1975 Spanish version called Jesucristo Súperstar with Ángela Carrasco as Mary Magdalene. Another notable Mary Magdalene was the Mexican singer Rocío Banquells in a 1981 production in Mexico.

The Venezuelan production run for two years (2006–2008) with Johnny Sigal as Jesus, Karina as Mary Magdalene and Luke Grande as Judah directed by Michel Hausmann. Recent international productions included a 2007-2009 Spanish production (Stage Entertainment) starring Miquel Fernández as Jesus (later replaced by Gerónimo Rauch), Ignasi Vidal as Judas and Lorena Calero as Mary Magdalene; a 2007–2008 Italian touring production (Compagnia della Rancia) in Italian; a 2008-2009 Swedish-language production featured Ola Salo of The Ark at the Malmö Opera in Malmö, Sweden; and a 2009-2010 Norwegian production featuring rock singer Hans Erik Dyvik Husby at the Det Norske Teatret in Oslo.

In 2010, Australian audiences were treated to two versions featuring the same actor portraying the title role; The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA, Inc. (South Australia) presented a modernized version at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide, South Australia from October through early November. Featuring former "Ten Tenors" star Luke Kennedy as Jesus, Danny Lopresto as Judas, Sarah Lloyde as Mary, Joel Valenti as Pilate, and Kent Green as Herod the show was directed by director David Lampard with Musical Director Ross Curtis and Associate Director Sharon Angrove.

A successful 2010 production in Brisbane, Australia was presented by Harvest Rain Theatre Company and directed by Tim O'Connor and featuring Luke Kennedy as Jesus, Naomi Price as Mary, Tod Strike as Judas, Lionel Theunissen as Pilate and Steven Tandy in a special guest appearance as Herod. The production returned to QPAC in February 2011 with Paul Watson (ex Jersey Boys Australia Original Cast member) taking over the role of Judas.

  Other recordings and broadcasts

In 1994, a studio recording under the name of "Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection" was released and starred various artists including the Indigo Girls. A video recording of their performance at SXSW in Austin was released as well but went out of print after only a few months. Bootleg copies still remain.

In a 1996 radio production for BBC Radio 2, Jesus was played by Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley, Judas by The Who's Roger Daltrey, and Mary Magdalene by Frances Ruffelle.

In 1996, Slovenian avant-garde industrial rock band Laibach (band) covered "Jesus Christ Superstar" on the album titled the same.

In 1997, the band Bigtop released a cover of "Pilate and Christ" (under the title "The 39 Lashes") on their album "On the Rise." The track also included some sampled dialog by Samuel L. Jackson from the film Pulp Fiction.

In 1999, Stoner/Doom Metal Band Acid King released a cover of "Pilate and Christ" (under the title "The 39 Lashes") on their album "Busse Woods."

On 1 January 2000, an Italian performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Arturo Villone, was broadcast on Rai Radio 2. The cast starred Paride Acacia as Jesus, Egidio La Gioia as Judas and Olivia Cinquemani as Mary. Carl Anderson appeared on this recording as well, singing the song "Superstar". In 2000 a national tour began which was directed by Carl Anderson and starred many of the same cast members from the radio broadcast.

In 2003 OmOm Music released a mostly instrumental surf-rock version entiled "Jesus Christ Surferstar".

In 2005 the first Dutch national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar began in The Netherlands. Produced by Joop van den Ende the production starred Dieter Troubleyn as Jesus, Martin van der Starre as Judas and Casey Francisco as Mary. Jamai Loman who previously won the Dutch version of Idols played Simon. The tour ran from October 21, 2005 through July 9, 2006.

In February 2006, progressive metal band Vanden Plas covered "Gethsemane" as a bonus track on their album "Christ 0"

In summer 2007 Anastacia opened the medley section of the Concert for Diana with a rendition of Superstar, backed by a gospel chorus.[26]

In November 2007 the band Queensrÿche released "Heaven on Their Minds" on the album Take Cover. Queensrÿche guitarist Mike Stone states in the liner notes "It's getting hot in the kitchen, and Judas can't take the heat. This is one of my favorite songs from J.C. Superstar. I have always wanted to hear a rocked-up version of this tune...and now I can!"

On 22 April 2008, the song "Superstar" was performed on American Idol by contestant Carly Smithson, before getting eliminated the following day.

  Films

A film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar was released in 1973, and was the eighth highest-grossing film of that year. The film, directed by Norman Jewison, was shot in Israel and other Middle Eastern locations. Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson were both nominated for 1974 Golden Globe Awards for their portrayals of Jesus and Judas. Bob Bingham reprised the role of Caiaphas, having played the part in the original Broadway production. Barry Dennen (Pontius Pilate) and Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene) were the only performers who remained from both the original recording and Broadway cast. Though it attracted criticism from some religious groups, the film was generally well received.[citation needed] A new song was written for this adaptation, called Then We Are Decided, though it wasn't used in the Broadway productions.

A second film adaptation was released in 2000, starring Glenn Carter as Jesus, Jérôme Pradon as Judas, Renee Castle as Mary Magdalene and Rik Mayall as Herod. The film was directed by Gale Edwards and Nick Morris, and won an Emmy in 2001 for Best Performing Arts film. The style of the film is more like the stage version than the location-based 1973 adaptation, and used many of the ideas from the tour from around that time. Several members of the film's cast, including Carter, later went on to the Broadway production after shooting the film.

A third film adaptation will be released in 2014.[citation needed] Marc Webb is set to direct.

  Awards and nominations

  Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1972 Drama Desk Award Most Promising Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber Won
Theatre World Award Ben Vereen Won
Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Best Original Score Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice Nominated
Best Scenic Design Robin Wagner Nominated
Best Costume Design Randy Barcelo Nominated
Best Lighting Design Jules Fisher Nominated

  1996 London revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1997 Laurence Olivier Award Best Musical Revival Nominated

  2000 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2000 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated

  2011 Stratford Shakespeare Festival / 2012 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2012 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Josh Young Nominated
Theatre World Award Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design Steve Canyon Kennedy Nominated

  References

  1. ^ The picture is falsely showing Peter about to strike his left ear. Both Luke 22:50 and John 18:10 say he "cut off his right ear". A downward stroke would continue into his neck or shoulder. There was only one sword used.
  2. ^ This is the text in the original recording
  3. ^ This scene was added for the Broadway production.
  4. ^ In the Broadway production, a stanza is added where Pilate admonishes the crowd for their sudden respect for Caesar, as well as how they "produce Messiahs by the sackful".
  5. ^ The title of the instrumental number "John Nineteen: Forty-One" is a reference to a verse in the Gospel of John about Jesus being laid in the tomb.
  6. ^ www.cpanda.org/pdfs/csob/1304.pdf
  7. ^ Suffolk Times article on the original Southold High School production.
  8. ^ Robert Stigwood Group Limited v. Sperber, 457 F.2d 50 (2 Cir. 1972)
  9. ^ [Entertainment Weekly, July 19, 1996]
  10. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar: A note from Andrew Lloyd Webber"
  11. ^ [Time, November 9, 1970] Rice went on to say "we are basically trying to tell the story of Christ as a man. I think he increases in stature by looking at him as a man."
  12. ^ [Life magazine, May 28, 1971]
  13. ^ Free Presbyterian Church - Online Pamphlet
  14. ^ SUPERSTAR' FILM RENEWS DISPUTES: Jewish Groups Say Opening Could Stir Anti-Semitism Reasons Given Company Issues Statement - New York Times
  15. ^ village voice > news > Mel Gibson's Jesus Christ Pose by Jessica Winter
  16. ^ Jesus Christ Superstar: Show facts and figures
  17. ^ 1972 Australian production
  18. ^ Jesucristo Metalstar
  19. ^ Peaches Christ Superstar | Peaches Official Site
  20. ^ teaches of peaches - artforum.com / scene & herd
  21. ^ It's Official! JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to Open on Broadway March 2012!
  22. ^ Time. April 10, 2012. http://entertainment.time.com/2012/04/10/jesus-christ-superstar-and-evita-one-sings-the-other-doesnt/. 
  23. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar". Curtain Critic. http://www.curtaincritic.com/Shows/JESUS_CHRIST_SUPERSTAR_REVIEWS-122.html. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Jones, Kenneth; Hetrick, Adam (May 1, 2012). 2012 "Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations". Playbill. http://playbill.com/news/article/165460-2012-Tony-Awards-Nominations-Announced-Once-Earns-11-Nominations 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour". http://www.jesuschristsuperstar.com/2012/05/16/jesus-christ-superstar-arena-tour-2/. 
  26. ^ Concert for Diana - Timeline BBC Retrieved January 11, 2011

  External links

   
               

 

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