Jesus Christ Superstar

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  operafantomet on Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:39 am

There's a rather interesting JCS production running in Oslo at the moment. I have a friend in the cast, which is quite awesome, and it also means I've seen in a couple of times now. I posted a review over at POL after the opening night:

I saw the opening night of this production, and I was a lot more impressed than expected. simply because, in all it's oddity, it worked. It was good theatre. It was great entertainment. And it rocked - literally...

As Jesus: Hank von Helvete from the death punk band Turboneger, rocking his way through the musical
Setting: drug addicts and transsexuals, living in a world between the highway and the railway
Scene: huge, railway, concrete columns, barrels with flames, an obscure water construction in front
Judas: Pete Dorethy's lost twin
Pilate: an S/M-like policewoman, suspiciously similar to the police chief of Oslo
Herodes: a Hefner like playboy dressed only in a tiny blue speedo, surrounded by bikini girls, in a Hawaiian setting, with a swimming pool where the orchestra pit would be
Sound level: Insane. At times like a rock concert, with the orchestra actually placed on stage, wearing costumes reminding of Turboneger's stage outfits

Admittedly, first act haltered a bit, but the second act was grand theatre. And the total was very impressive, with a surprising casting, an excellent orchestra, good translation (though much of the Tim Rice genius is always lost in translations) and truly funky design.

One of my favourite parts might have been the ending, where the railway track raised from the floor, forming a gigantic glowing cross with the crucified Christ in the middle, and with the cast rising "through" the water/pool (front stage) as a symphony orchestra, playing a sobbing sad tune (can be found on YouTube). VERY cool.

Is Hank von Helvete a trained singer? Does he handle the songs? Erm.... not really... That usually bugs me a lot, but with him it worked. Somehow, it just worked. And the female Pilate was such a nice touch, she was one of the highlight of the show. Has this role been done by a female before (in professional productions, that is)?

It closes in February, I think. If you're in or nearby Oslo, go see it! Seriously.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  operafantomet on Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:35 am

Some pictures:


The main poster and the man himself



Set design, dominated by a crossing railway track which in the end becomes the large cross Jesus is crucified on. But there's also a train involved in the second act. The orchestra is placed on stage, and the "orchestra pit" is filled with water.


Herodes. Living in a sort of Hawaiian tropical Paradise island, with the water pit in front being transformed into a swimming pool. And Herodes in a teeny tiny speedo. OMG! Most surprising is how well that scene worked. Much due to the personality and awesome voice of Herodes (Sigve Bøe).




Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and Pete Doret... I mean, Judas (Frank Kjosås)




This is the scene where Pilate looks suspiciously like the police chief of Oslo. Which I think is intentional. This production focus a bit on drug addicts; their position in society and how they're handled by "uniforms". This scene is so uncomfortable to watch, but works well.



Pilate (Hildegunn Riise) and Jesus (Hank von Helvete). Although Pilate looks like a sadistic freak in both pictures, the actress has a rather sympathetic approach to the role. She tries to offer Jesus ways to save himself, and is mad with frustration when he doesn't accept any of the offers. Which is why she looks so angry in both pics.



Railway transforming into a giant, glowing cross rising from stage. Judas puts flower down, before a mock symphony orchestra rise through the orchestra pit/water and plays the "Gethsemane" theme, conducted by the named Judas.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:12 pm

And in this newspaper article, where ALW himself talks at length about his battle with prostate cancer, he confirms that there is some fire behind the smoke of the rumours that Baz Luhrmann wants to do a JCS movie remake:

That evening I had the meeting Baz Luhrmann had requested with Tim Rice, which transpired to be about a possible movie remake of Jesus Christ Superstar

Hope, then, that one day a remake of PotO might be possible? I mean, if they're going to go as far as remaking My Fair Lady...

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:22 pm

That really IS interesting news. And I like your way of thinking!

Lemme see... Last JCS movie was made in 1973, and a new movie could possibly be out in 2013 (anniversary thing?). So if POTO gets a similar "anniversary" in the movie world, we're talking.... 2044? *sigh* Let's hope they head for anothr anniversary, maybe when POTO has played 30 years in West End? That's 2016, much closer!

....and I know it's only in my mind....

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  operafantomet on Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:46 pm

Seeing the Oslo production again in a couple of days. Yay!

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Sun May 09, 2010 11:57 am

Following a friend's recommendation I just bought a second-hand copy of this book from the 70s when Superstar-mania was rife. You can get it quite cheap on Amazon if you're interested:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jesus-Christ-Superstar-Michael-Braun/dp/0330235176/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273406243&sr=8-1

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ladygodiva on Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:21 am

I saw the national tour with Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson the first time the tour came through there were 3 red clad dancers mostly ballet who would rather taunt and torment Judas. Ted Neeley and Carl were to old to play 33 year old Jesus and Judas but they were acutally quite good and they had a great Rapport on stage. and also Irene Cara played Mary Magdalene (funny Story when Carl Anderson was in Cleveland he had a gold record of Jesus Christ superstar that was to be presented to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, Carl left it in a Taxi-Cab, and an Honest person brought it forwar (I think it was the cabbie.) in this one Herod was played by a bare bottom chaps wearing actor, (I cant think of his name) and in this tour when Judas hangs himself it looks authentic

Back to the tour, Dennis from the band Styx he played Pilate, he was quite good, and at that theater it was amplified sound, hugh sound system. and definately a rock n roll

the second time the tour came around the three red clad Judas tormentors where not in the show. I thought that the red clad dancers were great I missed them, this time around Herod was done as an Elvis impersonator, (Maybe due to the Elvis like pharoah in Joesph and the Technicolor dreamcoat.) the leads were fantastic in both productions.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:49 pm

http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/news/andrew-and-tim-rice-apear-on-/

Andrew and Tim Rice appear on The Culture Show


This Thursday, 4th November, The Culture Show will feature an exclusive interview with Andrew and Tim Rice to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Jesus Christ Superstar concept album. Andrew and Tim are interviewed by Matt Berry, star of The It Crowd and The Mighty Boosh, who considers Jesus Christ Superstar to be the seminal concept album after falling in love with it aged 14.

The interview will give viewers a unique opportunity to hear Andrew and Tim discuss their memories of making the album, and their thoughts on its continuing popularity and significance.

The interview will feature on The Culture Show on BBC 2 at 7pm this Thursday, 4th November.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ML6 on Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:56 am

Tbh, I didn't care for the 'crips' and the 'bloods' version of JCS. That DVD cast is awful, the staging is funky, and ... I don't know. It just reminds me of Godspell.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:23 pm

Yeah, there's no improving on the original concept album. I bring it out every Easter time. The early 70s rock orchestrations are just awesome.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ladygodiva on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:34 am

SenorSwanky wrote:Yeah, there's no improving on the original concept album. I bring it out every Easter time. The early 70s rock orchestrations are just awesome.

Amen to that, in agreement with you 100%

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:00 pm

In this interview with The Daily Telegraph published this week, ALW reveals that his next big project, aside from messing around with Oz and trying to salvage a certain trainwreck of a standalone show continuation sequel ????, is "a blockbuster world arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, the 1970 rock opera written with Sir Tim Rice":

The composer wants the work, which was first published as an album with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan singing the part of Jesus, “to go back to its rock roots”.

“I will know in about February if it’s going to happen, so as regards television I’m hors de combat really,” he said.

“Every major artist I’ve spoken to has said they want to be in it. I’m not going to name names but I’m getting demo tapes from some of the top artists in the world. It’s extraordinary.

“We want to play 200 arenas in America and they are planning the route for the US tour already. Then hopefully there will be a world tour, going through the O2 in England. I’m very excited about it.”

No mention on any celebrations for Phantom's 25th, so don't bother getting your hopes up for that.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  SenorSwanky on Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:34 am

That's one show that should go back to its rock roots. It's never sounded better than on the original concept album.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ML6 on Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:39 pm

That World Tour of JCS sounds amazing. I wish a clip would come out about the concert version of JCS with Jack Black as King Herod. I thought that had some interesting casting.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  providerofgoods on Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:10 pm

It was this show that caused me to fall in love with musical theater when I was in first grade, and for that it will always hold a special place in my heart. For similar reasons, as Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson were the first people I ever heard and saw perform the roles in the film, it's their voices and stylings that I will forever associate with the roles of Jesus and Judas, and the rock sound of the concept album that I will forever associate with the show's musical aspect.

ladygodiva, I will forever be envious that you got to see both Ted and Carl together live in their most famous roles! I wound up seeing Ted four times (one performance for each leg of his "Farewell Tour," from 2006-10), and I've also seen Carl separately in a 2003 touring production, but seeing them together! Oh, how I wish! Also, hearing about Irene Cara and Dennis DeYoung's time in that tour just reminds me how much worse stunt casting has become. I've, er, *cough cough* heard their work, and must say that they were more than qualified for the roles in which they were cast, unlike most celebrities joining theater today.

I must also say that I agree with ML6 when it comes to the 2000 DVD version. I think the idea of setting JCS in the present or making it postmodern is artistically valid, but there was just too much mish-mash of styles, which made for an unpalatable clash of tastes. Jesus and Judas had wandered in from Liverpool's Gay Quarter, the ensemble was shades of Rent and We Will Rock You, the high priests were straight out of The Matrix, the Roman "riot gear" looked more like they were trying out for Darth Vader in a musical of Star Wars, and Captain von Trapp in uncharacteristic Gestapo uniform had clearly taken one too many steroids, wandered into what he thought was a Sound of Music reunion, and wound up playing Pilate instead. If they had managed to impose a unifying artistic vision on the piece, and cast voices that fit the "rock" needs of the score, I might have enjoyed it more.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:04 am

providerofgoods wrote:

I must also say that I agree with ML6 when it comes to the 2000 DVD version. I think the idea of setting JCS in the present or making it postmodern is artistically valid, but there was just too much mish-mash of styles, which made for an unpalatable clash of tastes. Jesus and Judas had wandered in from Liverpool's Gay Quarter, the ensemble was shades of Rent and We Will Rock You, the high priests were straight out of The Matrix, the Roman "riot gear" looked more like they were trying out for Darth Vader in a musical of Star Wars, and Captain von Trapp in uncharacteristic Gestapo uniform had clearly taken one too many steroids, wandered into what he thought was a Sound of Music reunion, and wound up playing Pilate instead. If they had managed to impose a unifying artistic vision on the piece, and cast voices that fit the "rock" needs of the score, I might have enjoyed it more.

I really don't understand why they chose to film THAT version of Gale Edwards' production. What opened on Broadway in 2000 and was filmed for the new video was almost the polar opposite of the 1996 revival in London. There, the costumes were not modern dress (so no gay-looking disciples) and the set was like a roman amphitheatre -- it was done by John Napier, of Cats, Les Mis and Sunset fame. I still don't know why they didn't transfer THAT production to Broadway and film that instead. I have heard that ALW may have fallen out with John Napier (wouldn't surprise me), but I wonder if that is true and why, if it is true, they did fall out.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  providerofgoods on Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:28 pm

As I understand it, this new production was created because the Napier model was not "tour-ready." The Lyceum Theatre, which had been in disrepair, was redeveloped specifically for the 1996 production, and Webber didn't have the money to fix every theater across the country to get ready for the show, so he told Gale to come up with another idea, more contemporary perhaps, and she and her new design team spitballed and put together the UK tour that, with minor changes, went to Europe and America and video.

That said, it was a friggin' video. They could have very easily re-assembled the Napier model and just went with it. From everything I've heard about the Lyceum production, it seems to me like it could have been the definitive staging of the piece. I've been trying to find, er, *cough cough* proof of that, but it seems proof is scarce, let's say. If you find out anything, please let me know!

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:03 pm

providerofgoods wrote:As I understand it, this new production was created because the Napier model was not "tour-ready." The Lyceum Theatre, which had been in disrepair, was redeveloped specifically for the 1996 production, and Webber didn't have the money to fix every theater across the country to get ready for the show, so he told Gale to come up with another idea, more contemporary perhaps, and she and her new design team spitballed and put together the UK tour that, with minor changes, went to Europe and America and video.

That said, it was a friggin' video. They could have very easily re-assembled the Napier model and just went with it. From everything I've heard about the Lyceum production, it seems to me like it could have been the definitive staging of the piece. I've been trying to find, er, *cough cough* proof of that, but it seems proof is scarce, let's say. If you find out anything, please let me know!

That makes sense, but why did they not at least take the Lyceum production to Broadway instead of the tour version? Maybe the tour version was cheaper to stage... I'm not sure whether the Lyceum production actually recouped; it only ran for something between 18 months and 2 years (I say 'only', but of course revivals only have a limited shelf-life anyway. But then the original London production did run for 8 years...). All I can say is thank God they're at least transferring the Adelphi production of Evita. The Rice-Lloyd Webber revivals have had great productions generally on this side of the pond and should be seen elsewhere.

I haven't ever come across the 'proof' you're looking for sadly, though I do have a souvenir brochure from the production and a few listenables. The cast with Steve Balsamo and Zubin Varla was fantastic. For me Balsamo's is the definitive performance of the title character.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  providerofgoods on Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:44 pm

Scorp wrote:That makes sense, but why did they not at least take the Lyceum production to Broadway instead of the tour version? Maybe the tour version was cheaper to stage...

That's a good question. I think it was a combination of being cheaper to stage, and being the most widely seen version (due to touring) in the European sphere. The video, keep in mind, was originally planned for release at Easter 2000, after the show had opened on Broadway, to saturate the market with the "new" version, but then Webber pulled it back, presumably because he thought the video being widely available would hurt worldwide ticket sales.

Scorp wrote:The cast with Steve Balsamo and Zubin Varla was fantastic. For me Balsamo's is the definitive performance of the title character.

Well, I've already expressed my feelings on which performance I prefer, but everyone seems to agree that combining the Lyceum edition with rock voices would be the ultimate production, so I've always wanted to see exactly how the Lyceum version looked.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:42 am

providerofgoods wrote:
Well, I've already expressed my feelings on which performance I prefer, but everyone seems to agree that combining the Lyceum edition with rock voices would be the ultimate production, so I've always wanted to see exactly how the Lyceum version looked.

There's no scanner where I keep my souvenir brochures - if I move them to my flat or get another scanner I'll upload some pics of from the souvenir brochure for you.

Ready for a blast from the past? Check out this interview with VERY OLD SCHOOL Rice and Lloyd Webber, with the former being blond and charming and the latter being shy and awkward: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTksZNYW07A

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:48 pm

On the subject of the Lyceum production, I had no idea that George Perry, who wrote the companion books for Phantom and Sunset Blvd, also did one for this particular production of JCS. I only just discovered its existence:



Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere for sale online. pale If anyone has it, I'd love to know what it's like. Also if anyone has the more well-known (but now out-of-print) book from the 70s by Ellis Nassour, am also intrigued as it's on my list of things to get hold of at some point...

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  providerofgoods on Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:09 pm

If you do find it, let me know. I have a transcription of the Nassour book, but it loses the incredible photo section, so I'm going to poke around a bit more and see if I can find the full book in PDF or something online.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  operafantomet on Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:54 am

Re-watching the 1973 film version as we speak. Haven't seen it in ages.

I still love many of the ideas, and I also like the cast a lot. In terms of ALW's musicals translated into a movie, this is probably the most successful one to date. I think it has a more creative nerve than the other movie versions of his musicals.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:46 am

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/another_coming_of_christ_UVhyLRGJBB0Tl0kr3edpKO

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  SenorSwanky on Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:55 am

I'd love to see that production. JCS was the first musical I ever saw, a college production at SUNY New Paltz in '91 I believe. I was in 1st grade, I think, maybe 2nd. Here's a highlights video from Playbill:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv8y2iJQf_U

Not too thrilled with what I see there, but the praise can't be for nothing. Also some extended video on Stratford's YT page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/stratfordfestival

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ML6 on Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:23 am

That Mary's voice is annoying to me. Otherwise, Brent Carver was nice as Pilate. Very Happy

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  ladygodiva on Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:00 am

operafantomet wrote:Re-watching the 1973 film version as we speak. Haven't seen it in ages.

I still love many of the ideas, and I also like the cast a lot. In terms of ALW's musicals translated into a movie, this is probably the most successful one to date. I think it has a more creative nerve than the other movie versions of his musicals.

I rewatched it again, the cinematography was beautiful, and it was quite clever, and did you know that Jeff Hyslop is one of the disiples in the film,

interesting fact when Yvonne Elleman was recording the song I don't know how to love him, she was given an option by Webber and Rice to either have a recording pay,or to have money for every copy it sold, she took the recording pay, she would have been alot richer if she took the every copy sold.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Scorp on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:12 pm

So are the judges going to be saying "Sorry, you're not Jesus" or "You could be Jesus" now? Oh dear.


Lloyd Webber searches for Superstar

Theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber is to return to the UK’s television screens as he attempts to unearth a new performer to lead the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

But the man behind shows including The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has parted company with previous collaborators the BBC and will televise this search for a star via rival channel ITV.

Titled Superstar, Lloyd Webber’s latest talent show will audition both professional and amateur performers from across the UK in the hope of finding an actor to lead the cast of a new arena tour of rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

The composer, producer and theatre owner commented: “Presenting a new, 2012 version of Jesus Christ Superstar for arenas is truly exciting. Some of the best performances of this show have been in rock venues and I'm thrilled to see the show return to its roots. ITV is providing the perfect platform for us to find a new, British Superstar.”

Superstar is the fifth time that Lloyd Webber has made the British public part of his casting process, following the success of previous BBC shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, Any Dream Will Do, I’d Do Anything and Over The Rainbow. The prime time Saturday night shows made household names of Connie Fisher, Lee Mead, Jodie Prenger and Danielle Hope, who is currently starring in The Wizard Of Oz, and fed the buzz and interest around West End theatre.

Previous judges, working alongside the theatrical Lord, have included Denise Van Outen, John Barrowman and Sheila Hancock. Though no names have been confirmed for Superstar, Lloyd Webber will once more be aided by a panel which, as with fellow ITV talent shows Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor, will judge auditionees performing on stage before an audience.

Elaine Bedell, ITV's Director of Entertainment & Comedy, said: “We are asking ITV viewers to help us find a new superstar in every sense of the word. We’re looking for the kind of performer who can fill arenas and produce a rocking performance to match.”

Performers who think they fit the bill can find more information at www.itv.com/superstar


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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  SenorSwanky on Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:12 am

Ugh.

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

Post  Miss von Krolock on Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:38 pm

Hear hear, Mr. Rice!

http://blog.musicaltheatrenews.com/2012/01/sir-tim-rice-against-itv-show-to-cast.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2Fwckr+%28Musical+Theatre+News%29&m=1

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Re: Jesus Christ Superstar

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