Jesus Christ Superstar
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Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera. Introduced in 1970, it highlights the political and interpersonal struggles of Judas Iscariot and Jesus.
From album to Broadway
The opera was first heard 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 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 songs, "Superstar"and "I Don't Know How to Love Him were both big hits.
The show, directed by Tom O'Horgan, opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway on October 12, 1971. The Broadway production received mixed reviews Andrew Lloyd Webber has also criticized it harshly. The show starred Jeff Fenholt, Ben Vereen and Bob Bingham. Carl Anderson stepped into the role of Judas when Vereen fell ill, and the two performers later took turns playing the role.
The Broadway show and subsequent productions were condemned by some religious groups. Some Christians claimed that by showing Jesus as a man but not God and by omitting the rebirth, Superstar was blasphemous. 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.
The North American touring revival of "Superstar" in 1992, titled the AD Anniversary Tour. This production also starred both Dennis DeYoung and James O'Neil and Syreeta, Irene Cara, and Christine Rea. Originally expected to run for a three to four months, the tour ended up running for five years.
1997 United Kingdom Run
Superstar was revived once again in London in 1997. This version of Superstar was updated to appeal to a new generation of fans. 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. 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 opening in 1998 and closed around 2001.
2006 Ted Neeley Farewell Tour
As of 2006, the new tour, starring Ted Neeley and Corey Glover, has played over 60 venues, is confirmed in 120 venues to date, and is booked through 2008.
In 1973, a film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar was released, and was the eighth highest-grossing film of that year. The film was shot in Israel and other Middle Eastern locations. Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson were both nominated for 1974 Golden Globe Awards. Bob Bingham reprised the role of Caiaphas, having played the part in the original Broadway production.In 2000, a further adaptation was released, starring Glenn Carter and Jerome Pradon. The film was directed by Gale Edwards and Nick Morris, and won an Emmy in 2001 for Best Performing Arts film.
1972 Tony Award nominationsTony Award for Best Original Score - Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyrics by Tim Rice Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Ben Vereen Tony Award for Best Scenic Design - Scenic Design by Robin Wagner Tony Award for Best Costume Design - Costume Design by Randy Barcelo Tony Award for Best Lighting Design - Lighting Design by Jules Fisher 1972 Theatre World AwardTheatre World Award - Ben Vereen
1972 Drama Desk Awards
Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Composer - Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
2000 Tony Award nomination
Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical - Produced by The Really Useful Superstar Company, Inc., Nederlander Producing Company of America, Inc.; Produced in association with Terry Allen Kramer
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