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Fans around the world, we need your help!

JCS Zone is working on an informal history of Jesus Christ Superstar fandom on the Internet for a new section of our website's Fan Zone.

We are digging up the farthest corners of cyberspace with the help of the Internet Archive, but what little we're able to glean from the Wayback Machine is only part of the story. If you were discussing JCS online in the days before Facebook existed and before the World Wide Web was truly worldwide, we want to hear from you!

Direct your submissions to our archivist / co-owner, Gibson DelGiudice, and we will make it a part of the history continuing to emerge.
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When any show is a hit, a lot of people will be quick to capitalize on the show’s success. In this case, Jesus Christ Superstar was one of the first albums of its kind, and everyone wanted their own slice of the pie where the Passion According to Tim and Andrew was concerned. At this time, many “budget” labels famous for releasing low cost sound alike albums (“knock-off” recordings capitalizing on shows, songs, or albums that became hits) jumped into the fray. The performers were usually never an actual ensemble that had performed JCS (indeed, in its early days, the number of actual casts performing the show were very few), but instead merely a group of vocalists who recorded songs from the show. Usually, these recordings were very cheaply put together and produced, and priced to own.

This example took a swing at getting the lion’s share of the score in the can. Made in Australia by a combo assembled by producer and organist Mike Perjanik, and deemed good enough by EMI to give it a British release on their cheapie Starline label, it is often dubbed the “First Australian Cast” by fans because it pre-dates the official Australian production. The singers include such well-known quantities -- in Australian circles, at least -- as Terry Kaff, Erl Dalby (a/k/a Erle Montaigue), and Shauna Jensen. Enjoy!

youtu.be/meJ4tg7ygCkRecording Information Classification: First Australian Cast Year of release: 1972 Language: English Type: Studio cast Cast List Jesus of Nazareth…………Terry Ka...
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4 months ago

Jesus Christ Superstar Zone

A first in JCS Zone history: two of our fans meet up at the final date of the JCS singalong screening tour! Andrew J. Simpson and one of this site's administrators, Gibson DelGiudice, were pleased to finally make their acquaintance in person after over ten years of Internet friendship.

Andrew, one of JCS Zone's most frequent interviewers, a composer inspired by JCS to pen three rock operas of his own, and an informal acting student (by correspondence) of the late Barry Dennen, decided life was too short to wait to meet the rest of his heroes in person. So, an eight-hour drive from Canada to Rhode Island later, Ted Neeley and Bob Bingham were very happy to receive the both of them, and a splendid time was had by all!

(Obviously, two people meeting up was easier to coordinate than a later large event, but could this be the inspiration for "Jesus Christ Super-Con" in the not too distant future? Time will tell...)
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The original Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar, at the time and since, has remained what might be considered a polarizer. Some people -- Andrew Lloyd Webber included; he has frequently remarked about this -- hated it, and some people absolutely (pardon the pun) worshiped it. Its director Tom O'Horgan (Hair, The Musical), to quote an obituary by West End critic Michael Coveney, "filled the stage with huge angels swinging on psychedelic wings across shimmering, surreal sets, laser beams, dancing dwarves and lepers, and a crucifixion scene set on a dazzling golden triangle." (In his one concession in almost 50 years to O'Horgan's cleverness, Webber admitted to liking the opening: "The floor of the stage was vertical, and, as it went down, people swarmed over the top of it, like ants.") This approach has never sat all that well with those who feel that JCS should be starker and more gripping, and less a wacky, outrageous synthesis of multiple influences.

Ultimately, all that survives of the production are press photographs, the mixed (at best) reviews, and this recording: the original Broadway cast recording. Its label, MCA, did not expect the new album to do well if the price was too high, since so many copies of the original concept recording (also on MCA) had been sold, so it was decided to release a one-record, abridged version in a double jacketed package containing a large assortment of photographs from the show.

Some people involved in the recording, Ben Vereen among them, have voiced a low opinion of its virtue, but for those willing to give it a listen, maybe the jazzy inflections, the quicker tempos, and the vocal talent on display will give you a hint of what it was like to see the show on Broadway for the first time in 1971.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jce46BI1WsThe original Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar, at the time and since, has remained what might be considered a polarizer. Some people -- Andrew L...
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