Musicals Thread (JCS Appreciation)

Welcome! The purpose of this thread is to talk about all things related to the wonderful world of musical theatre. Each week (or so) I will post a thread with a topic/question for everyone to respond to. This is also a great place to mention any new musicals you’ve discovered and/or general recommendations for other musical fans. Heard/seen any good shows lately? Have any theatre news to share? Tell us about it!

This Sunday NBC aired Jesus Christ Superstar Live, and it was fantastic! I mean, it wasn’t perfect, but overall, I was happy with what I saw. There was a live audience, it was on a stage, and the cast was packed with theatre talent. True, sometimes the audience was a little too loud, and there were some mistakes in casting, but—again, I can’t stress this enough—it was good! Some of my delight with the show probably comes from very low expectations and watching it along with the great people here at the Avocado, but the fact that the source material is so good probably helped too. With that in mind, I’d like to sing the praises of Jesus Christ Superstar this week.

Jesus Christ Superstar is one of my favorite musicals. I’ve seen it twice—both times were fantastic—and I’ve been listening to various cast recordings since high school. I even like the 1973 movie (it’s not perfect, sure, but it’s fun and has some good moments). I’m not a religious person, and religion wasn’t important to my family growing up, so I don’t really have any feelings about that aspect of the show, but I do appreciate the humanity in the story. If I could only change two things about the NBC production, John Legend and Sara Bareilles would have been replaced by better actors and, in the case of Legend, a singer whose range can really deliver Jesus’ famous screams. They weren’t bad, and Legend did a good job with “Gethsemane” but I’m picky and stubborn about how those roles should be performed. If I could change one other thing, I’d get someone to replace Alice Cooper. I mentioned this before, but I had no idea that he had played King Herod before. I listened to that performance and was not a fan, and so I wasn’t expecting much on Sunday. That being said, I was genuinely impressed with his performance. I think it worked visually, and he really played with the crowd, but at the end of the day I still prefer my Herod to be more lively and playful. For example, this is more my speed:

 

But what about all of you? What do you like about Jesus Christ Superstar? Do you have a preferred recording? Personally, I’ve never found a single recording that I’m totally happy with. I really liked one that a friend gave me in high school, but I’m not sure which one it was, and I haven’t been able to locate it. I’d be very interested to know which recordings you all like. And, lastly, what did you think of NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar?

Jesus Christ Superstar is risen!