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!
What's the buzz? We'll tell you what's a-happenin'!
As you may know from our website, and from various stories shared on the forum, JCS Zone didn't start out as the largest online fan community for Jesus Christ Superstar all on its own. Founded in 2007, our community was built on the legacy of our predecessor JesusChristSuperstar.net, or "WTB" (short for their "What's the Buzz" forums), one of the most widely populated fan sites dedicated to all things JCS (as opposed to just certain versions of the show) on the web.
By the time JCS Zone had turned one year old, however, WTB, which had sadly been on the decline for some time, was already gone. We have done our best to honor its legacy, both by continuing to unite the fan community in love of the show and by building on resources originally available through WTB to allow fans to learn about all aspects of the show.
Ten years since WTB met its untimely death, we come full circle. As of July 19, 2018, JCS Zone is now the proud owner of the original domain name. Users who navigate to that link will now be directed to JCS Zone's main page. We are not moving, and none of the links within our site itself have changed (although if you substitute the dot-net where the jesuschristsuperstarzone address would go, the page will still work); this is just a new and more convenient way to access the same information for people who loved WTB, wondered where it had gone, and were somehow unable to find their way here on their own. ... See MoreSee Less
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... ... See MoreSee Less
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...) ... See MoreSee Less
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.