JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Composed by the acclaimed team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the musical highlights the political and interpersonal struggles between Jesus of Nazareth and the apostle Judas Iscariot. The action largely follows the gospels' accounts of the last weeks of the life of Christ, beginning with his arrival in Jerusalem and ending with the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
The show is directed by Nick Montesano with Musical Direction by Jeff Brown and Choreography by Stacy Coppola. The show features Chris Morrisy as Jesus, Anthony Vitalo as Judas, and Jessica Berger as Mary Magdalene.
Rice and Lloyd Webber gave this Biblical story a decidedly twentieth-century spin, making use of contemporary slang and allusions to modern life. As a result, subsequent productions both on stage and in film adaptations have incorporated intentional anachronisms. A large part of the plot focuses on the character of Judas, who is depicted as a conflicted and tragic figure alarmed by his friend’s recent claims of divinity.
First conceived as an album in 1970, Jesus Christ Superstar opened first on Broadway on October 12, 1971, but received mixed reviews from the New York press. However, its harshest critic may have been Lloyd Webber himself, who was extremely dissatisfied with the way the production was mounted. The show closed after 18 months but earned five Tony award nominations, a Theatre World award (for Ben Vereen’s performance as Judas), and a Drama Desk award (for Lloyd Webber’s score).
When the show opened in 1972 at the Palace Theatre in London, it was an unqualified hit, running for eight years and becoming the U.K.’s longest-running musical at the time (later surpassed by other works to become the fifth longest-running). A film adaptation followed in 1973, as well as numerous international productions and a highly successful series of North American tours starring Ted Neeley as Jesus and Carl Anderson as Judas, reprising their film roles.
Others in the cast include: Nathan DeDeo (Annas); Stephen Rubino (Pontius Pilate); Mike Fabian (Caiaphas); Daniel Grayberg (Simon Zealotes); Arnold Teixeira (Peter); and Eric Walby (Herod).