I got to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" on stage at Century II this week. Some friends asked me to go at the last minute. And I rationalized skipping church choir practice to do it. I was still worshiping through music, right?
By the way, I didn't take the photo above. I was a good girl and kept my camera in my purse. Plus, I wouldn't have gotten nearly so good a photo from our perch in the first row of the balcony.
Ted Neeley (pictured above) starred as Jesus. This guy is unbelievable. He first played the role back in 1972. (That is 38 years ago, just in case you're math challenged like me!) My friends and I were debating on our way home how old Neeley would be. He also starred in the movie version of "Jesus Christ Superstar."
So I did a little research. The guy is 66 years old. He has an amazing range. I've always told Randy that it's his job to pull me out of the choir loft when my voice gets that waver that seems inevitable for more "mature" sopranos. But this guy just defies the odds.
He was joined by a whole cast of other magnificent singers, most notably John Twiford, who played Judas, and Sarah Hanlon, who played Mary Magdalene.
Even though the movie was released in 1973 during my high school years, I never saw it. I'm not sure why. The musical was controversial when it came to stage and later to the movie screen. Some found the liberties taken with scriptural text sacrilegious. However, others thought it was a great new way to spread the Word to the world's youth. When the stage production opened in 1971, it was criticized not only by some Jews as anti-Semitic, but also by some Catholics and Protestants as blasphemous in its portray of Jesus.
I guess I didn't see the reason for the controversy. It tells the story of the final seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It dramatizes Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (see the photo below of the musical company singing "Hosanna!"), the unrest caused by his preaching and popularity, his betrayal by Judas, the trial before Pontius Pilate, and his ultimate crucifixion.
Some people believe that the resurrection isn't portrayed, but for me, it was implied as Jesus rose from the cross during the finale.
As I said, this was my first time to see the musical, though I knew several of the songs, most notably "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him." The lyrics are by Tim Rice and the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Wow!
And, in my opinion, it was well worth the $52.50 ticket and a great way to lead into the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 17.)