Friday, December 25, 2015

jesus christ superstar

The gospel according to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber replaced resurrection with rock revisionism.  The songwriting duo had come up with a twenty minute cantata entitled Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when they were just teenagers.  For their next project, they wanted to stick with a biblical theme.   Lloyd Webber looks back:   "We were toying around with various subjects, and I think it was the dean of St. Paul's Cathedral who said, 'Why don't you think about the story of Jesus?' And we kind of toyed with it and then thought, 'Maybe yes, maybe no.' "

They got excited about the prospect when they decided to focus on Judas, the disciple who would betray Jesus.    Rice reasons:   "It's logical that he might've been worried about the man that he admired, and had joined, [that he] was kind of getting out of control. In the Bible, there is absolutely no motivation for Judas, other than that he is sort of a 100 percent figure of evil. And it seemed to me that that was probably not the case."

When it was finished they had trouble getting anyone to produce the show for the stage.  Lloyd Webber:  "It is very much a child of its time, but the verdict was that it would be too unhip for the young and too controversial for the old. So we thought that was that."

They decided to record the musical as a concept album instead.  Rice says:  "Thank God we did, because the fact that we made Superstar initially for record meant that we cut out the book. We hadn't actually written a book, but we were thinking of having a chat, so it might've been 'Hey, Judas, take a seat,' or whatever. I mean, it could've been awful. It worked so much better and was much less pretentious, if it was a sung-through work."

Jesus Christ Superstar features Ian Gillan as Jesus, Murray Head as Judas, Michael d'Abo as King Herod, Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene, and Barry Dennen as Pilate.  Despite the controversy over denying the divinity of Christ and being banned in Britain, Jesus Christ Superstar went to number twenty-three in the UK, sixteen in Italy, eleven in Germany, ten in the Netherlands, six in Australia, four in Austria, three in Norway, and number one in Canada and the US.  In the US, it was the top selling LP of 1971.  The success of the album led to stage productions on Broadway and in London with Tony nominations for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Scenic Design,  Best Costume Design, and  Best Lighting Design.  A film version came out in 1973, directed by Norman Jewison, garnishing Golden Globe nominations for Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, and Yvonne Elliman for their portrayals of Jesus, Judas, and Mary Magdalene.  


Jesus Christ Title role, leader of the twelve disciples, a man, called the "Son of God" and the "King of the Jews."
Judas Iscariot One of the twelve apostles of Jesus; concerned for the poor and the consequences of Jesus's fame.
Mary Magdalene A female follower of Jesus who finds herself falling in love with him.
Pontius Pilate Governor of Judea who foresees the events of Jesus's crucifixion from beginning to aftermath in a dream and finds himself being presented with that very situation.
Caiaphas One of the main antagonists of the show. High priest who sees Jesus as a threat to the nation.
Annas One of the main antagonists of the show. Fellow priest at the side of Caiaphas who is persuaded by Caiaphas into seeing Jesus as a threat.
Peter One of Jesus's twelve apostles; denies Jesus three times upon the night of Jesus's arrest to save himself.
Simon Zealotes One of Jesus's twelve apostles; urges Jesus to lead his followers into battle against the Romans.
King Herod The King of Galilee; Jesus is brought to him for judgment after first being taken to Pilate.

Jesus Christ Superstar
full album:

Act One
00:00 1 Overture
05:31 2 Heaven On Their Minds
09:53 3 What's The Buzz
12:29 4 Strange Thing Mystifying
14:21 5 Then We Are Decided
16:55 6 Everything's Alright
20:30 7 This Jesus Must Die
24:17 8 Hosanna
27:11 9 Simon Zealotes
32:03 10 Poor Jerusalem
33:41 11 Pilate's Dream
35:11 12 The Temple
41:06 13 I Don't Know How to Love Him
45:05 14 Damned For All Time - Blood Money

Act Two
0:49:44 15 The Last Supper
0:56:58 16 Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say)
1:02:40 17 The Arrest
1:05:55 18 Peter's Denial
1:07:24 19 Pilate And Christ
1:10:22 20 King Herod's Song
1:13:38 21 Could We Start Again, Please
1:16:25 22 Judas' Death
1:21:05 23 Trial Before Pilate
1:27:56 24 Superstar
1:31:54 25 The Crucifixion
1:34:37 26 John Nineteen - Forty-One

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