NEW YORK • More than 1,000 viewers members whooped, clapped and even wept on Easter Sunday at a 19th-century National Guard armoury in Brooklyn, New York, from which NBC did a reside broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar.
With R&B hitmaker John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot and Alice Cooper as King Herod in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s non secular rock opera, NBC’s Superstar didn’t lack for star energy.
The song-only manufacturing was billed as a reside concert somewhat than a completely staged musical. And the gang’s passionate whooping underscored one of many musical’s central themes: the hazards of uncritical superstar worship.
Entertainment Weekly referred to as the efficiency a “glorious glitter bomb”, Deadline mentioned it was “just how Jesus would have wanted it” and The New York Times hailed it as “a conceptual and artistic triumph”.
The present averaged 9.four million viewers, in line with The Hollywood Reporter, placing it forward of all different authentic telecasts for the evening, together with ABC’s American Idol.
Written by Webber and Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar has lengthy held one thing of a shock place within the fashionable theatrical canon. Debuting in 1970 as a rock opera album, it made the leap to Broadway in 1971 and was nominated for 5 Tonys – profitable none.
The story retells the lifetime of Jesus from the attitude of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Christ to the Roman authorities within the New Testament gospels. It carefully follows biblical accounts of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion in Jerusalem, whereas including substantial criticism of Jesus’ followers; his communion with disreputable folks; and his open, harmful antagonism of each the Jewish and the Roman authorities.
The musical then pushes again in opposition to its personal scepticism, depicting the powers-that-be as corrupt, cynical and manipulative, exploiting the anxieties of Judas and the opposite apostles.
In the years instantly after its premiere, the musical raised eyebrows and ire with its decidedly non-traditional spin on Christ’s final days.
By contemplating Jesus extra as a cultural phenomenon than a divine determine, and by exhibiting as a lot sympathy for Judas as for the person he betrayed, Webber and Rice delivered an interpretation of the Passion Play as radical as director Martin Scorsese’s much-protested 1988 movie The Last Temptation Of Christ.
On social media on Monday morning, it was clear that many throughout America weren’t as celebratory because the New York crowd in attendance at NBC’s Superstar. Some picked at ahistoric creative thrives within the script, whereas others dismissed the present as usually irreverent.
WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES