leave your inhibitions at the door
With Easter being this weekend and all the theater stuff we did last week, it’s only logical that I got on a Jesus Christ Superstar kick. This was one of the first musicals done by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice – the team that also brought us Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Evita. Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera that focuses on the last week of Jesus’ life up to his crucifixion. Originally done on Broadway, it was made into a classic film in 1973.
When I was a kid, we had taped the movie from TV and I remember watching it with my brothers a million times. I imagine my mother, who’s as devout a Catholic as most popes, didn’t really appreciate the portrayal of Jesus and his disciples as a bunch of unwashed hippies. But I think she let us watch it because it’s like Catholicism through osmosis. The downside was when I went to church school on Sundays. It was kind of a bummer when Jesus wasn’t belting out high notes like a heavy metal singer.
As much as I loved it as a kid, in retrospect this is really a guilty pleasure. First, it’s a bunch of hippies. It was perfectly fine to be one back in 1973, but being one now is just ridiculously dated and pathetically out of touch. (I think I may have just offended 60% of Ann Arbor.)
Second, Jesus Christ Superstar is religious. Kinda. Well, it’s at least more religious than that Pitbull song I just downloaded. And why’s religious bad? It’s bad because rock and religion shouldn’t mix. Think about it – rock is about rebellion, drugs, sex. It’s the devil’s music. And hell, the term “rock and roll” was a euphemism for sex. So no, rock shouldn’t be religious. Sorry, Stryper.
Andrew Lloyd Weber
Finally, it’s Andrew Lloyd Webber, who’s considered to be the Katy Perry of musical composers. Critics love to hate the guy because his work is hugely commercial and not very deep or complex. I don’t know if I’m enough of a musical theater expert to go all high-brow and ridicule Andrew Lloyd Webber. I like his stuff and it makes for a pleasurable entertainment experience. Then again, I also love Katy Perry.
Jesus Christ Superstar does have its share of catchy songs. I really like this one a lot. Not only is it catchy, but it also highlights the awesome performances of Carl Anderson (Judas) and Ted Neely (Jesus).
But the best song of them all is this one. I’m not even sure how it really fits into the story, but it’s just a downright beautiful song. This clip is from the 2000 remake of the movie.
Have you seen Jesus Christ Superstar? Are you an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan?
Happy Easter if you celebrate it!