Jesus Christ Superstar as an NBC Live Musical for Easter 2018

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by BradOlson, May 14, 2017.

  1. There's a VERY good argument to be made for JCS being ALW's very best work, but personally, I'd rank EVITA just a half-a-notch higher still (and always have). But either way, both works have as much meat on the bone (musically), as anything ALW's ever done.

    I guess the argument for JCS, though, would be its status as perhaps THE quintessential "rock opera" (and given its history, first having been performed in only a semi-staged "rock concert"-type performance, but quickly moving to a legit "staged" production (my mother saw the very first "concert" production in about 1971, based on this line from the Wikipedia article on the work: "Robert Stigwood launched two road touring companies in 1971 to cover North America, with Robert Corff and Tom Westerman as Jesus, respectively." (Somewhere back home, I still have her concert program from the event, which she saw in St. Louis, MO).

    Evita (which I actually prefer), I see as being slightly less "rock" - but perhaps only in how its been perceived over time. IN ANY CASE, much as I might have 'enjoyed' a few other ALW musicals years (eons) ago, in my youth -- I really think it's JCS and Evita that stand up the very best simply based on the quality of the music (and story).

    Cats, for instance, is great fun (sure), but absent the costumes and set, I think it doesn't have any of the gravitas of JCS and Evita. (I mostly gave up on ALW after Cats.)

    Joseph definitely has its charms (not unlike Stephen Schwarz' Godspell), and I have a soft spot for both. But I think JCS -- but especially the slightly underrated Evita -- are Webber's crowning achievement(s).

    PS: I've NO problem with a live TV production. It'll either be good, or bad, or somewhere in between -- I suspect closer to good (than otherwise). God forbid we stop producing new productions of musicals simply because there's already good film-productions of them in the can. Theatre ceases to be theater when it's not newly performed, especially by each successive new generation. Should orchestra stop playing works that have already been expertly recorded and released? I should hope not; same too with theatre.

    Now whether it's any good, or not, that's another question - but not something that should be automatically prejudged (especially before any casting decisions have been announced).
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  2. Jason Pumphrey

    Jason Pumphrey Forum Resident

    What I find is amazing, is Ted Neeley and most of the principal cast from the film have stayed good friends after all these years, and have had reunions recently with most of the cast members, sadly Barry dying a few months ago.

    Also amazing is Ted is still married to his wife, who he met while filming JCS.
     
  3. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    I think that we might both agree that ALW and Tim Rice (Lion King) did some really fantastic work with both JC Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as their earliest collaborations.

    While I have listened to music from Evita, I have never listened to the album or have seen the play.

    I have seen JCS performed on several occasions, including the Broadway production.

    Had a chance to see Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson (who were in the movie), preform the play in Atlanta, in the same theater that Gone With the Wind premiered in.

    Ted has been performing the play for many years. He is currently scheduling exclusive showings if the restored, 2k, digitally remastered film, making his appearance along with the film and hosting VIP receptions.

    I have several copies of the original record boxed sets, with the libretto's.

    I also like Cats, it is a fun show and I enjoy introducing children to its music and the theater.

    You mentioned Godspell, yes it is another example of a quality production.

    There was another gatefold rock opera, based on biblical events, that was released in 1971. Most are not even aware of its existence. It is called Truth of Truth's.

    [​IMG]

    Jim (Mr. Magoo) Backus, plays the voice of God on the album. The album comes with a 17-page libretto.
     
  4. Mirrorblade.1

    Mirrorblade.1 Forum Resident

    How about Hair....................... As for this.. nobody wants a Hippie Jesus..
     
  5. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    "Oh, Calcutta" with Katy Perry.





    Groove for groove, "Hair" has more memorable melodies than many other "classics." I think it has more good songs than "South Pacific," for example. It's also a nice rock-backed musical, ala Christ.'
     
  6. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Silver Creek, NY
    Please, no stunt casting.
     
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  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Hair had a total of five songs on the Billboard top 100, back in 1969.

    Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, which was a medley of two songs, performed by the 5th Dimension.
    Hair, which unfortunately, was preformed (if you can call it that), by the Cowsills.
    Easy to Be Hard, preformed by the Three Dog Night.
    Good Morning Starshine, preformed by Oliver.

    Although Oliver was not a regular member of any Hair tribe, he made a guest appearance when Hair was preformed in Miami, at the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

    It happened to be the 100th performance of Hair in Coconut Grove. It was a Matinee and Oliver was a guest for that performance and sung Good Morning Starshine.

    My friend and I, happened to meet the Stage Manager and he had personally invited us to the show. He had us siting on these bar stools that were at the rear of the theater. Shortly, before the end of the second act, he appeared and told us to follow him. He went through a door and we were walking down these different corridor's and then through another door and we were backstage in the wing on the left side.

    We got to watch the ending backstage. After the formal ending, that also ended the copyrighted portion of the show. Afterward, the band plays and all of the members come on stage and they let the audience come up on the stage and dance with the cast, while the band was playing. While there is no photography allowed during the actual performance, the stage manager told me I could take photos during the dance time. I took a shot of Oliver dancing with the cast. It was in B&W and I used to have an 8x10 print of it, that I made.
     
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  8. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Groove for groove, "Hair" has more memorable melodies than many other "classics." I think it has more good songs than "South Pacific," for example. It's also a nice rock-backed musical, ala Christ.'[/QUOTE]

    If you enjoyed the music, here are a few more tidbits of Hair information...

    Hair premiered off Broadway at the premier opening of the Public Theater, which was the old John Jacob Astor Library.

    This was in October of 1967, so Hair is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, this year. After the show closed at the Public, Michael Butler purchased the rights and opened it at a Discotek which was a nightclub that was actually located on Broadway. It ran for a short time and then closed. It reopened on Broadway in the spring of the following year.

    While the Original Broadway Cast Album is something that the general public is familiar with, there are other recordings that contain different songs, as the play morphed quite a bit, in the original days.

    While it was at the Shakespeare Festival, they recorded the first Original Cast album on RCA records (Catalog No. Stereo PRS-319. I have a couple of copies of this album, one is still unopened from 1967.

    [​IMG]
    You can still source this album. Back in the original production, Aquarius was not the opening number of the Play.

    If you buy the Original Broadway Cast album on CD, some versions are coming with a double set that includes the off Broadway Cast version.

    After the release of the Original Broadway Cast album, they released another album with songs that had been written for the play, but were never actually in a stage version. It also featured songs that were in the play, but were not on the Original Broadway Cast album.

    [​IMG]
    The red stripe is part of the shrink rap packaging. It is a single LP, but is in a gatefold cover.
     
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  9. Seems my Wikipedia link in my prior post doesn't work without the "!" in the link (owing to the board software thinking that was meant as punctuation). Here's another attempt:

    CLICK HERE

    There, that works now.
     
  10. Scotian

    Scotian Amnesia Hazed

    I'll be interested to see who plays Judas. The choice for that role can make or break a production.
     
  11. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Whatever happened to Jesus Christ Superstar Live?
     
  12. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    I'm sure they'll address that by implying He was the original SJW
     
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  13. Steve Litos

    Steve Litos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    Rooster...my Aunt saw the "illegitimate" touring production in Chicago in the summer of 1971. It was at the Aragon Ballroom which to this day can hold about 5000 people on a sold out show.

    The person of note that came from the tour was actor Joe Morton (Scandal, T2, Brothers From Another Planet) who played Caiaphas/choir/apostles.

    The Stigwood production played to 19,000 at Ravinia Park in August of 1971 and Carl Anderson was already playing Judas.
     
  14. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Far North
    JCS is/was a great album, with great songs.
    The play, which I have seen performed a few times by different casts, is, in my opinion, not really very good.

    As a play based on the Bible, I much prefer Children of Eden.
     
  15. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Yikes, that mix makes it sound like the backing track is playing a different song (even that groovy riff). The London recording is a far better mix. Great vocal, though.

    I can't say I'm expecting much from the live version.
     
  16. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Who is today's best screaming Jesus and Judas? Probably someone I've never heard of.
     
  17. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US

    Bruno Mars? Justin Timberlake has the you-know-who looking going on.


    A comedy version with Christopher Guest, Michael McKeean, and Harry Shearer would have been great.
     
    Solaris likes this.
  18. That was 90% of my reason for asking if more of the cast had been announced.
     
  19. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    If you enjoyed the music, here are a few more tidbits of Hair information...

    Hair premiered off Broadway at the premier opening of the Public Theater, which was the old John Jacob Astor Library.

    This was in October of 1967, so Hair is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, this year. After the show closed at the Public, Michael Butler purchased the rights and opened it at a Discotek which was a nightclub that was actually located on Broadway. It ran for a short time and then closed. It reopened on Broadway in the spring of the following year.

    While the Original Broadway Cast Album is something that the general public is familiar with, there are other recordings that contain different songs, as the play morphed quite a bit, in the original days.

    While it was at the Shakespeare Festival, they recorded the first Original Cast album on RCA records (Catalog No. Stereo PRS-319. I have a couple of copies of this album, one is still unopened from 1967.

    [​IMG]
    You can still source this album. Back in the original production, Aquarius was not the opening number of the Play.

    If you buy the Original Broadway Cast album on CD, some versions are coming with a double set that includes the off Broadway Cast version.

    After the release of the Original Broadway Cast album, they released another album with songs that had been written for the play, but were never actually in a stage version. It also featured songs that were in the play, but were not on the Original Broadway Cast album.

    [​IMG]
    The red stripe is part of the shrink rap packaging. It is a single LP, but is in a gatefold cover.[/QUOTE]




    Fantastic history! I must track these down. Thank you!
     
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  20. PCM7027

    PCM7027 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    Tim Minchin was phenomenal as Judas in the Arena Tour.
     
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  21. Gill-man

    Gill-man Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Sorry but the Cowsills’ recording beats the original cast recording:



    Hair "Hair" (the original Broadway cast)
     
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Fantastic history! I must track these down. Thank you![/QUOTE]

    Funny little story about the original Broadway cast album and DisinHAIRited.

    Back in the late 60's, Hair had five songs that were on the top 40 hits. Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In, Easy to be Hard, Hair, and Good Morning Starshine, which were sung by different pop musicians.

    The original Broadway cast album (1968) was clever to list these "hits" while advertising the album. People who had never seen the play bought the album, because they liked these songs. Once they listened to the album (or part of it), they found that the music wasn't what they had expected, only have listened to the songs before on top 40 radio. Many, many people had this album in their record collections (mostly adults), and the vinyl remained in pristine condition, due to lack of use.

    From my viewpoint, there is a lot of terrific music that originated from the play. Starting from the original off Broadway cast album, to the original Broadway cast album, where some songs have been cut, while others have been added to the production.

    DisinHAIRited, was released by James Ragni and Greome Radio, as a special collector's album to include some musical numbers that were not in the Broadway version of the play. Even the authors had a sense of humor. I have an old advertisement that I purchased off of eBay that has the authors stating, you didn't like our first album, so here is another. I want to get this mounted and framed, currently, it is sitting rolled up in a mailing tube.

    There are also different original cast recordings that were made by the original casts in different countries. The 1069 London cast album is an excellent recording, which happened to make the top five albums on the London chart that year.

    [​IMG]

    Not very well known, is an album which was recorded back in 1970. Divine Hair Mass in F (link is to Amazon, which has one new listed, at $14.94 and three used from $11/ea).

    The Bishop of NY, decided to host a mass in honor of the third anniversary of Hair, in NYC. It was hosted at the cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC.

    This is a live recording made in the cathedral during the actual mass. Quite a unique piece.

    [​IMG]

    Another good Hair album is the Original Soundtrack album from the late 70's movie version, that was directed by Milos Forman.

    [​IMG]
    There are a couple of country music songs on side four. It is a gateway fold double album. I don't have any idea where they originated from, as they were not in the play nor in the movie or in any of the other collections of songs that were cut from the play or written and not included in the play.

    The movie soundtrack has 27-songs from the movie, not including the two mysterious country songs. I have it on vinyl and have to say that the recording quality is better than most of the other available albums that I have listened to. Probably owing to the fact, that it was produced in the studio to the same standards that other movie music is authored and engineered. Treat Williams and Annie Golding are the bright spots in this production.

    There was also a B'Way revival of Hair back in 2009 after it closed on B'Way, there was a national touring company. I had the opportunity to see a couple of their productions.

    [​IMG]

    There was a gate fold double album from the Original Broadway Revival Cast. It features, 37-numbers from the play. the last two, being a reprise of Hair and Let the Sunshine In, which are played during the curtain call. The only song that was cut from the original B'Way cast production, was The Bed, which was replaced with Oh Great God of Power, which was featured on the DisinHAIReted album.
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    Well that one is highly debatable. I doubt that is the viewpoint of people who have seen any of the stage productions and likes the original music.

    As I have previously commented, there were five songs from the Original B'Way production that made the charts.

    Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, which was a medley of two songs, performed by the 5th Dimension.
    Hair, which unfortunately, was preformed (if you can call it that), by the Cowsills.
    Easy to Be Hard, preformed by the Three Dog Night.
    Good Morning Starshine, preformed by Oliver.

    These are the versions that were made popular with the general population, most of which have never seen the play, they just like these musical numbers and how they are performed. These were the songs on the AM top 40-charts. People tend to like the music that they are accustomed to hearing.

    Which is why so many people purchased the original B'Way album but didn't like the shows versions on the songs, and thus, never listened to the album.

    Back in my teens, my friends and I used to sit around and listen to records. As in our early teens, we mostly did not have stereo's of that great of quality, when someone's parents were out of the house, we used to play records on their parents console systems. I used to look through the records that were available for a listen. These being the records of my friend's parents. Often OBC of Hair kept popping up. As the record company (RCA) was advertising these musical numbers, I was familiar with these songs. But, never did I ever hear that album being played.

    One day, when I ran across a Hair album again at I friend's house. He replied that the songs don't sound like those that you are used to hearing on the radio. He put on the album and I had to totally agree with him, that none of the music was anything close to what I was expecting to hear.

    Back before I saw the play, which was days before my 16th birthday, the only song that I knew that was from Hair, was Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In, which was preformed by the 5th Dimension. None of had any idea what was meant by the "/" slash mark between the first part of the song and the last part. All we knew was, that is how the song went, we didn't know anything differently.

    Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In went on to become the #1 song on our local AM radio station WQAM (560 on the Am dial) for the year, 1969. Easy to Be Hard, by the Three Dog Night, wasn't any different that other music that they had out at the time, like Try a Little Tenderness.

    Most of us didn't even realize that the Cowsills "Hair" had anything to do with the play itself. We just figured it was some bubble-gum song about long hair, which was, for some reason a controversy back in the 60's (which seemed to start with the Beatles). I didn't know that it was from the play, until I saw the play.

    If you enjoy the Cowsills, may I recommend some other similar groups that were also quite popular back in the Hair era, on the AM dial, try some of the hits by The Ohio Express and perhaps, The Archie's.

    Popular songs from movies and stage plays are most often completely different than the same songs as they were featured in the original movie or stage play.

    While that may be the version as preformed by an individual artist, and became popular, it certainly does not replace the original, which is performed within the context of the show or movie.

    Hair, by the Cowsills, was one of those AM radio top-40 songs that was quite literally played to death. It also is one of those songs that you can't get out of your head, despite trying.

    Even listening to Hair today, 50-years after its B'Way premier, I'm just now, getting to the point of not cringing, when the show version is being played.

    If there was ANY song that I wish that I could erase from my mind, it would be that one. Afterward, I would have been able to listen to the original cast version, with out trying to block out the Cowsills.

    BTW... Have you ever seen the play? Are you a fan of the original music, from the play?
     
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  24. forthlin

    forthlin Forum Resident

    I think that's a good assessment. The original recording is the audio equivalent of a DeMille production. That's difficult enough to capture on film, and impossible to portray on stage. The original album is by far the best iteration of this material.
     

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