(VOD) I’ll be blunt: I’ve never been an Andrew Lloyd Weber fan. While I respect him and his work, a lot of it comes down to my high school years as a cellist, having to play the mind-numbing Phantom theme over-and-over-and-over again, as well as filling in at pit orchestra during our production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Also, seeing an ad for CATS during every commercial break while I was watching STAR TREK or THE BOB NEWHART SHOW in syndication didn’t help.
Despite all of that, and despite the fact that I am not religious, I unabashedly love the original JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR score/film adaptation. It’s exactly the sort of coke-fueled crazy big swing I love from the 70s and, while I’ve seen a few other adaptations of it, as well as one stage production — there’s one stage production I really wanted to hatewatch that one of my favorite theater critics, Emma Couling, ripped apart, but I missed it — I keep coming back to the 1973 production and I think we all know why:
Carl Anderson as Judas is amazing. Yeah, Ted Neeley is pretty good, but Anderson completely outclasses him. Every number without him leaves you asking: ‘When’s Judas coming back?’
Secondly, the goddamn shimmy in Superstar! All of the choreography in the penultimate number is amazing, but perhaps nothing more than the arm shimmy.
I can watch this musical all day. It’s worth noting that it’s directed by Norman Jewison who, despite his surname and directing this and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, is not Jewish , but always knew exactly what sort of flourish to bring to his adaptations.
2015’s production of King Herod’s Song, featuring THE YOUNG ONE’s Rik Mayall (RIP):
I’d be remiss to mention that I definitely watched MR. SHOW’s -Jeepers Creepers Semi-Star- parody well before I watched any proper version of JESUS CHRIST SUPER STAR, but it still holds up as a great parody, and with an astounding cast of extras!