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.
For those of you who don't know, the JCS Zone website is home to a forum where one can connect with thousands of fans of Jesus Christ Superstar from around the world (link below for those on computers). But for those of you who did, you will also know that, while our main website is 100% compatible with smartphones and tablets (most people use mobile browsers to access literally anything Internet these days), our forum is somewhat lacking in this department; while not unusable, it has been far from perfect. Until now.
Our forum is now Tapatalk-compatible! This free app (available on both Android and iOS) will allow you to view and use our forums in the most optimal way possible for a mobile device. No need to pinch and zoom to make things readable, and it supports all of the forum's many features! (Free version has some non-intrusive ads, but you can of course pay to have none. Note that Jesus Christ Superstar Zone is not in any way affiliated with Tapatalk; our forum just supports their service now.)
Simply download Tapatalk to your mobile device, log in to (or register) your Tapatalk account, search for "JCS Zone" within the app and click to follow, log in using your forum account (or browse as a guest, if you like), and you can now view the forum and post to it without needing to wrestle with your mobile browser.
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We dove into our archives once again to bring you another obscure recording! This time we present to you the Soul Version of Jesus Christ Superstar from 1972. Enjoy!
youtu.be/BQnas2S7_oQRecording Information Classification: The Soul Version Year of release: 1972 Language: English Type: Studio cast Cast and Track Listing NOTE: Credits listed ... ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks to Mark A. Vaughan for making us aware of this video from the Encore Theatre Company which stars none other than Jon English as Pilate! Jon sadly passed away two years ago but he will always be remembered for his important contributions to the JCS legacy.
It just so happens that yesterday BBC Radio 4 did a new broadcast of the original 1996 Live In Concert show on BBC Radio and we were just in time to record it! Starring Tony Hadley as Jesus Christ, Roger Daltrey as Judas Iscariot and Frances Ruffelle as Mary Magdalene in the title roles. You'll find that this new broadcast is a huge improvement over the original from 22 years ago so we hope you'll enjoy it!
A rare piece of Superstar history! This recording has been out of print for many years. Some original copies have been known to be sold on eBay for well over 200 dollars, instead we're letting you listen to it for free. 😉
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youtu.be/mMnDvnKfBKMA rare piece of Superstar history! This recording has been out of print for many years. Some original copies have been known to be sold on eBay for well over... ... See MoreSee Less