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Every time I look at you I don't understand
April 9, 2009 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Ted Neeley has made an entire career of playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. He starred in the movie back in 1973, and is currently on tour, still playing Jesus at age 65, almost twice the age of the historical Jesus when he died. Like the character he portrays, Neeley has quite the following, but some wonder if he's too old to play Jesus.
posted by JustKeepSwimming (69 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
CBS Sunday Morning profile: Ted Neeley, Superstar.

Chicago Tribune video interview: Ted Neeley - 64 and still playing "Jesus".
posted by ericb at 10:11 PM on April 9, 2009


I'm a show-tune-hating atheist but man I love Superstar. I had no idea this guy was still going!
posted by shelleycat at 10:15 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I saw Neely do Superstar here in Seattle last year with Living Color's Corey Glover as Judas. He was too old, but honestly, it didn't detract from the show or the performance. The worst bit was some ham-handed playing to the ticket-buying churchlady demo at the end of the show. As originally mounted, the show ends with Christ's last words, "it is finished," head down, cut the lights, curtain.

This touring production had the cross, Jesus and all, stage fly up off the stage beyond the proscenium, presumably to heaven, thereby undercutting one half of the show's original controversial thesis. It was a PAINFULLY STUPID staging choice. I literally cried out, "FUCK NO" and clapped my hand to my forehead, gaining some looks from the churchgoers around me.

FWIW, Glover was fan-tastic.
posted by mwhybark at 10:19 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shit, Superstar is about as pro-skeptic as it gets - Judas is the only sensible or likeable character other than Jesus - the disciples are all total chumps.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saw him. Definitely too old. The voice is just not there, and he can't move that much, either.

Jesus was in the prime of his life, y'know?
posted by musofire at 10:27 PM on April 9, 2009


Another Superstar-loving atheist here. JCS was my first-ever album - mom took me to the parish priest to talk me out of getting it, and got an earful of "WTF, woman? The kid wants to hear about JC, for chrissake!"

Heh.

Gave up on the whole divine son of God theory shortly thereafter, but never gave up on the brilliant script/songwriting (YAY Tim Rice!!!) and orchestration that was JCS.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:34 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"My God, he knows this backwards and forwards, and I don't even know the Bible particularly well." (Norris says he studied "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible" to bring himself up to speed.)

I did not know of such a useful literary resource.
posted by Tube at 10:36 PM on April 9, 2009


YAY Tim Rice!!!

Word.

And now the show (brown album) is playing in my head. It's like a play button has been pushed.

"My mind is clearer now..."
posted by hippybear at 10:38 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: Ridiculously funky bassline.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The weapons seen in this movie are
posted by Artw at 10:40 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a show-tune-hating atheist but man I love Superstar.

It's OK, but it's no Starlight Express. I wanna see Jebus roller-skate on water!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:53 PM on April 9, 2009


MetaFilter: It's OK, but it's no Starlight Express.
posted by hippybear at 10:55 PM on April 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fuck that trains shit. No other musical compares, except possibly The Wiz.
posted by Artw at 10:55 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw JCS for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was blown away. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Jesus. I had no idea the guy was 65. Even more in awe now.
posted by justgary at 11:19 PM on April 9, 2009


"I've tried for three years... seems like thirty..."

There's a reason for this.

They keep killing him off every night, but HE. KEEPS. COMING. BACK!

ZombieJesus! Make sure your nailgun is locked and loaded!
posted by markkraft at 11:25 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Try grenades.
posted by Artw at 11:28 PM on April 9, 2009


Carl Anderson really stole the show from Neeley in the original movie. Judas has the best songs.

And of course Neeley was no Ian Gillan, either.

Judas on the brown album was played by Murray Head, whose brother Anthony Stewart Head played Giles on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and also has a starring role in Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Yvonne Elliman played Mary Magdalene on both the brown album and in the movie, and had a hit single ("If I Can't Have You") on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
posted by and for no one at 11:30 PM on April 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


The worst bit was some ham-handed playing to the ticket-buying churchlady demo at the end of the show. As originally mounted, the show ends with Christ's last words, "it is finished," head down, cut the lights, curtain.
This touring production had the cross, Jesus and all, stage fly up off the stage beyond the proscenium, presumably to heaven, thereby undercutting one half of the show's original controversial thesis. It was a PAINFULLY STUPID staging choice. I literally cried out, "FUCK NO" and clapped my hand to my forehead, gaining some looks from the churchgoers around me.


They've done this in most of the major productions from (at least) the past fifteen years.

I mean there's still the love song from the hooker, right? A neon cross isn't really enough to make it pious again.
posted by aswego at 11:34 PM on April 9, 2009


Awesome. I had no idea Ted Neely was still doing this. Very cool. Count me as yet another atheist who loves this movie/play. I was first exposed to it in ninth grade, where we all had to take home a permission slip to be signed by our parents so we could watch it in music class because the movie suggested that Jesus might have been just a man. Who hung out with lepers and whores. And tried to do good things.

Anyhoo, I still know most of the lyrics and sometimes break into them at the most inopportune times.

(My school also screened a showing of TOMMY one night. Quite an eye-opener.)
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2009


And from the people at JesusChristArcade, it's MythHunt!

Sacraligeriffic!
posted by markkraft at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2009


And since I'm skewering sacred cows...

Not everyone in New York would pay to see Andrew Lloyd Webber
May his trousers fall down as he bows to the queen and the crown
I don't know what tune the orchestra played
But it went by me sickly sentimental...



(In eighteen-years retrospect, Crowded House was just a little too accurate there about the U.S. condition. Ouch.)
posted by markkraft at 11:55 PM on April 9, 2009


I hope he lives to a hundred and keeps touring as Jesus. Tiny, hunched, wrinkled, bald, deaf, toothless, specky Jesus. Babies get junior Jesus out in the shed with the goats. Tweens get pubescent Jesus showing up the dudes in the temple. Younger adults get roadshow Jesus, hallucinating-in-the-desert Jesus, and so on up to thirty-three-and-a-third Jesus emerging from his burrow and shaking off the dust in springtime. But where is the role model for older people? Maybe some sort of gnostic retiree Gandhi Jesus would make older Christians think twice about something or other they shouldn't oughta be up to at that age. In any event, it would be good entertainment.
posted by pracowity at 12:14 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just for argument's sake, there is a bit of tradition in theater to cast capable performers who are older, even significantly so, than the characters they are playing. That isn't to say that it should be that way (and indeed, there's a greater move toward age accuracy in recent years -- see the new West Side Story revival for an example) but it's not unheard of. See productions of Romeo and Juliet, for example.

The last Rent cast on Broadway had Renee Goldsberry, age 38, playing 19-year old Mimi.

I'm a musical theater buff, but I've never seen Neely or JCS (though I do like the songs), so I can't really comment on him specifically, but it seems in line with theater practice. Opera does this all the time too.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:25 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole he seems like an nice enough guy.
posted by mazola at 12:29 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I saw him in Seattle at the Paramount a couple years ago. He was great but kinda pudgy to be Jesus. And I kept thinking about what a tough job he has; he's been typecast as Jesus. Everywhere he goes people probably come up to him and ask him what it's like to be Jesus. That's got to become annoying after a while.

"Hey, man, you're a great Jesus!"

"Yeah, man, thanks. I've really enjoyed being Jesus. Can you just get me my latte now?"
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:50 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


See productions of Romeo and Juliet, for example.

Ah. Well. I've seen, for just one recent example, Juliet played by a very large fat man, and it came off well considering he was a very large fat man, but there's a point past which Juliet might as well be played by Stephen Hawking in his robotic exoskeleton.

It must be hard to find attractive teenagers who can play Romeo and Juliet, but it can't be impossible. You might have to train them for several years, starting when they're eight or ten, and concentrating on just that role, so that they're ready for the big time when they hit the right age.
posted by pracowity at 1:00 AM on April 10, 2009


Fuck that trains shit.

Yeah, I was being facetious. I'm not comprehending the love at all. Is this like the Sound of Music for the post boomer generation? Do you all dress up as disciples and go and sing along with the cast or something?

No other musical compares, except possibly The Wiz

It's gotta be a generational thing. Have you never seen West Side Story? Porgy and Bess? Top Hat? An American In Paris? On the Town? Carmen Jones? A Star is Born? Guys and Dolls? High Society? Cabaret?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:00 AM on April 10, 2009


If he can keep hitting that "WHYYYYY?" I say let him stay. 'Cause I gotta say I was about as enthused as those cast members when he kicked it into Rockstar-mode.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:50 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Judas on the brown album was played by Murray Head, whose brother Anthony Stewart Head played Giles on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and also has a starring role in Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Yep. Murray Head was also on the concept album of Tim Rice's later show Chess, where the vocal demands combined with illness around the opening of the London production pretty much wrecked his voice for years. Anthony Stewart Head replaced his brother's replacement.

It's always struck me as funny that JCS has wound up making such a big deal out of the actor playing Jesus. Yeah, Gethsemane is a pretty awesome song, but seriously, the entire point is that Judas is the central character.
posted by graymouser at 4:01 AM on April 10, 2009


I've never made it to see Neely play, even though JCS is one of my favourite musicals/albums/movies. I have managed to see Gord Sinclair, the bassist from the Tragically Hip, play Caiaphas, which worked surprisingly well.

Fun fact: in the movie, most of the desert scenes are filmed in Israel, and the tanks used are actual Israeli tanks. This of course happened at a time that Israel was not very friendly to random strangers filming in the desert, and especially not borrowing tanks, but the director was Norman Jewison, who 2 years prior had directed Fiddler on the Roof, and thus at the time was kind of a cultural hero in Israel. So they lent him tanks and soldiers.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:23 AM on April 10, 2009


Murray Head. That little "Bangkok, oriental city..." chunk of crap is lodged in my memory down near "Krakatoa, east of Java!"
posted by pracowity at 4:35 AM on April 10, 2009


Christ, what an acthole?
posted by Eideteker at 4:42 AM on April 10, 2009


Re: the Norman Jewison reference (who is not Jewish, despite his name & film resume - as he has stated - with amusement).

The Israeli actor Topol who played Tevye in Jewison's pre-Superstar movie, Fiddler on the Roof is still going strong in the same uplifting part too - at 73.

I know this only because I saw Fiddler again the other day on tv, googled Topol - and discovered he was not dead as I'd assumed but was even now doing a Cher, with a final, final, final farewell 2009 world stage revival tour - which included a date in Providence, RI - where my son was at college.

(My son made a polite snort when I told him this. It wasn't on his list of must sees!) Anyway, I was glad I googled, because I found Pauline Kael's divinely pithy review of the 1971 movie - she called it "a joyously square musical".)

Apparently Topol still does his stuff beautifully...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:29 AM on April 10, 2009


I saw the same tour mwhybark saw recently, although Corey Glover was sick when the tour came to Boston so we had an understudy for Judas, but damned if he didn't have the Glover sound down.

Ted Neely was old, incredibly old, and you could tell he was pulling some of his vocal punches during the first act, and I'm reasonably sure they transposed some songs down so he wouldn't have to reach so high because when he did, his voice cracked...

...but when he got to Gethsemane, oh my god he nailed it. (Hush, you.) It was as if he had been saving his energy for just this number which honestly requires it all.

(But yeah, the whole "haul the cross up into the white light" ending is clearly there to appease the church ladies, and makes for a much longer curtain call while we all waited for Ted to get out of the harness getup and make it back down and then OH SURPRISE appear from out of nowhere. Oh, and the fellow playing Caiaphas had this incredible bass drone for a singing voice which was kinda cool.)
posted by Spatch at 5:38 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's an interesting version of the JCS soundtrack as recorded by a bunch of Atlanta musicians in 1994, including the Indigo Girls in the lead roles.
posted by mikepop at 5:42 AM on April 10, 2009


I'd love to get a list going of who else (of some significant fame) has played Jesus or Judas.
Gary Cherone (ex Extreme, ex Van Halen, now Extreme again) played both. Apparently this guy really really wants to play them too.
posted by Gungho at 6:28 AM on April 10, 2009


musofire: "Saw him. Definitely too old. The voice is just not there, and he can't move that much, either.

Jesus was in the prime of his life, y'know?
"

The Jesus in my head is 22 years-old and fresh out of community college. He drives a badass Camaro with a stripe on it. He still has his long hair but it's feathered and shiney. His rough and tumble devil-may-care facial hair is now trimmed and clean ala Tom Selleck. He wears a perfect fitting rugby shirt, painters pants and Frye boots. He still hangs out at the community college. I hate him because all the chicks dig him and he seems so popular. He bums me a cigarette one day and I find that he's actually not a bad guy. We start hanging out and have long talks over our peach cobblers in the cafeteria.

Jesus is just alright.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:31 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not comprehending the love at all. Is this like the Sound of Music for the post boomer generation?

Hey PeterMcDermott! I'm standing on your lawn, singing!

(So, you are the Christ, you're the great Jesus Christ,
prove to me that you're no fool, walk across my swimming pool)
posted by Reverend John at 6:39 AM on April 10, 2009


Aw man, I adore this musical so hard that it actually makes me defensive to read shit like from the last article: "The show book and score itself was laughable, sorry." Wutever, that shit is brilliant.

I saw JC for the first time in a church pageant when I was very young. It's literally the way I was introduced to the crucifiction story and I was very curious about it. Judas was always my favorite character and I still geek out to "Heaven on Their Minds" regularly. I remember that I asked my mom - one of the assistant ministers at my church - about the character of Mary Magdalene because I didn't understand what a prostitute was. She told me that she wasn't really a prostitute, but that she's portrayed that way by the patriarchy. Heh - it was a Unitarian church.

Anyway, I saw Ted Neeley last spring - thought the same thing. Fantastic job of Gethsemane aside, he's just too old.
posted by lunit at 6:43 AM on April 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is just like that apple-head doll Cathy Rigby playing Peter Pan onstage, leaving children in the audience terrified that an elderly lesbian is going to creep through their window and abduct them.
posted by hermitosis at 6:46 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Jesus in my head is 22 years-old and fresh out of community college. He drives a badass Camaro with a stripe on it. He still has his long hair but it's feathered and shiney.

Close, but no Cool Hand Luke, KevinSkomsvold

I think you'll find Jesus is Paul Newman, actually:)

(I may be an atheist, but I know a counter-culture JC when I see one. And Newman's Cool Hand Luke is, hands down, the ultimate cunning movie-remake-of-the-Big-Story. Though I've been arguing with my Dad - also a Newman fan - for about 20 years about this; infuriatingly, he refuses to see my point as anything but a bit of trivial & incidental directorial playfulness! Even tho' the iconic car washing scene is obviously about Jesus & Mary-the prostitute!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:55 AM on April 10, 2009


PeterMcDermott

All the shows you mention are great, but don't have nearly the zazz that JCS has. Maybe it IS a generational thing. Maybe it is that JCS is ostensibly a rock score and every show you mention is not. Maybe it is the sung-through nature of JCS, with its use of leitmotif and really excellent lyrics, which attracts so many to the piece. It's difficult to justify taste issues, but I do think JCS is a quite serious work which merits attention. I don't think that about all ALW shows, certainly, but JCS and Evita are deeper works than many suspect.

Plus, some shows are just more fun than others.*

*Please note, this commentator vastly prefers the album and stage versions of JCS. While not exactly hating on the film version, it has plenty of problems, not the least of which is pacing.
posted by hippybear at 7:08 AM on April 10, 2009


I'm involved with a group of Twin Cities musicians who've been playing a concert version of JCS at First Avenue on Good Friday for some years now. A booking mishap means that we're not doing the show today :-( but we're plotting our return in 2010 (the 40th anniversary year of JCS).

Ted Neeley is (and was) terrible. Ian Gillian on the original "Brown album" beats the movie version every time.

Posting here to link you Superstarologists with some very alternate versions of JCS via WFMU:

f*ed-up mashup of multiple versions

JCS in Japanese

I also like the horn charts in the Dutch version, and the Australians have a great version of "King Herod's Song." Go Jeebus!
posted by omnidrew at 7:22 AM on April 10, 2009


JCS in Japanese

One of my most cherished possessions is the Moscow cast recording of JCS in Russian.

I'm a show-tune-hating atheist but man I love Superstar.

Right there with ya. Additionally, I would run a mile in tight shoes to avoid any other stage piece Andrew Lloyd Webber has had a hand in, but I have seen at least eight productions of JCS (including the touring Ted Neeley/Carl Anderson version about fourteen years ago). And a local rep cinema has the Jewison film on this weekend,along with The Last temptation of Christ, Jesus of Montreal and Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter. You know I will be there.

It began its curious hold on me from the first viewing: when I was a teenager, it played at the local art gallery, and my mom suggested I go have a look at it. The thing is alarmingly 1973 at a couple of points, ("Hey, cool it, man,") but as a quasi-atheistic high school student who had been raised on tedious Bible stories, I was just blown away by the characterization: a messiah who is resistant and dubious about martyrdom ("I'm not as sure as when we started,") a betrayer who is trying to save the great gains the messiah has made already ("We are occupied -- they'll crush if we go too far,") a king who is a stooge ("Prove to me that you're no fool -- walk across my swimming pool,") pharisees who are trying to preserve public order ("I see blood and destruction... because of one man,") and who appeal to Judas' better nature ("Think of the things you could do with that money! Choose any charity, give to the poor,") a Pilate who is just trying to keep his job and a Jesus and and Judas who end up in the same place in the afterlife, still mystified about why things went they did ("Did you mean to die like that? Was that mistake? I only want to know...")

The secret ingredient to all this was Tim Rice's lyrics, of course. I read an interview with him once that made Lloyd Webber sound like an idjit. ALW had already hit upon the idea of a followup to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and had begun writing some music. The musical was to be based on the first book of Samuel. As Rice tells it, the iconic track "Superstar" with the lyrics we all know as "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, who are you? What have you sacrificed?" Lloyd Webber had penciled in as "Samuel, Samuel, this is the first book of Samuel." Ack.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:42 AM on April 10, 2009


While not exactly hating on the film version, it has plenty of problems, not the least of which is pacing.

It really is something of a mess, isn't it? For all that Mr. Show's parody of the film came two decades later, it was dead on.
posted by Iridic at 7:51 AM on April 10, 2009


Flat out funky grooves. And those deep rumbling voices - Caiaphas! I saw a production moons ago where my brother and I were most excited at the possibility of Caiaphas rocking the shit, and when he first belted out the walls of the theater shook. It was awesome.
posted by cavalier at 8:19 AM on April 10, 2009


Maybe it's because in conversation Neeley uses the word "unto" (repeatedly, and in the mellifluous tones of a Gospel preacher) when the word "to" would suffice. Or maybe it's the way he talks about how the line between Jesus onstage and Neeley offstage has, over several decades, become increasingly blurred. In a good way, of course.
So he's the second actor this week who thinks he's Jesus Fucking Christ.

In a bad way, of course
posted by mazola at 8:21 AM on April 10, 2009


Neeley delivered the children's sermon at my previous church during Lent a couple years ago. He was amazing. One of the ministry staff sat with the kids and asked them how fun it would be to play "Jesus" in a movie or on stage. They were really excited, and all of a sudden Neeley walks nonchalantly up the aisle. We were all completely floored. I'd never seen him up close but the man simply exudes Jesus-rays. The kids instantly fell in love with him.

The coolest part, however, was his message. Understandably, he has probably spoken to children at churches that cover the political spectrum, and ours was as far to the left as you can go without tumbling into abject Unitarianism. Nevertheless, he was totally cool and prepared - and his message was completely spot-on. Neeley sat with the kids and had a discussion about how wonderful it is to have people in your life who love you and care about you, and how Easter is all about how much we love each other, and that his life was great because he got to go on stage and play a man who loved the whole world and all the people in it, week after week. People in the pews were crying and everyone stood up and clapped and hugged each other like it was some kind of Easter miracle.

Afterward, he came to the fellowship hall and drank church coffee and ate cookies with us. He stayed for quite a while, talking to people. Amazing fellow.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:31 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh man now I'm gonna have to go home after work and find my copy of JCS, complete with calamine lotion stain where it dripped off my perpetual 6th grade poison ivied self and crank it up on my old record player with the really big speakers that were in my 60s/70s era house when I moved into it. I haven't listened to it in probably 15 years but I bet I still know all the words.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:35 AM on April 10, 2009


Hey, Cabaret is pretty Awesome too. It's still no The Wiz though.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on April 10, 2009


Jesus grabbed my sister's ass.

She went to see a touring production of JCS about 10-12 years ago, starring Ted Neely. Her friend was a huge fan, and insisted they hang out afterwards to get his autograph. She was dubious, but agreed. They waited a long, long time, and according to her, when Ted Neely came out, he spread his arms out like pictures of Jesus welcoming the children unto him. Her friend was thrilled, but Ted looked past him at my sister.

"I know you," he said.

"Um, no you don't," she said.

"What's your name?" he asked. She told him, and he repeated it. "I know I've met you before. Maybe in another life."

She didn't want to be rude, so she said "Maybe."

Her friend asked for a picture, and Ted said "I want to stand next to [sister's name]!" So she stood on one side, her friend stood on the other, Ted put his arms around each of them, and then his hand went down and started fondling her ass.

She never stopped smiling, though she hissed "Take the picture!" through her teeth at the guy with the camera. There is a picture of the three of them, my sister smiling very hard, and Jesus's hand is out of sight.
posted by cereselle at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jody Tresidder: "The Israeli actor Topol who played Tevye in Jewison's pre-Superstar movie, Fiddler on the Roof is still going strong in the same uplifting part too - at 73."

I read that Topol's passport, where it lists profession, reads "Tevye".

That's one of those stories where I don't care whether or not it's true - because if it's not, it should be.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:54 AM on April 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Murray Head. That little "Bangkok, oriental city..." chunk of crap is lodged in my memory down near "Krakatoa, east of Java!"

Spoken like a hard man humbled.

Murray Head's performance of "Heaven on Their Minds" is one of the great bits of vocal acting -- and I credit listening to that album roughly 5,000 times when I was 11 with starting my recovery from pernicious Christianity.

Meanwhile, Neeley, Schmeeley -- everybody knows the grooviest singing movie Jesus ever was Victor Garber.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:05 AM on April 10, 2009


I read that Topol's passport, where it lists profession, reads "Tevye".

Bullshit. That's Doctor Hans Zarkov!
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on April 10, 2009


Just put it on now, and once again, I'm struck by how the only overture I know of that is anywhere near this ominous is Sweeney Todd. Boy, that'd be a creepy-ass soundtrack mashup: "This is my body you eat / Shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top."
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:28 AM on April 10, 2009


I'm a RENT kind of guy, but Neely seems genuine and humble in his role and his place in JCS history. If he gets too big for his britches, just ask him if he likes fishsticks.
That should knock him down a peg.
If it can humble Kanye West, it can humble anyone.
posted by willmize at 9:56 AM on April 10, 2009


Neely and Jewison are semi-interesting on the JCS DVD commentary. Neely really seemed quite broken up over Carl Anderson's then-fairly recent death.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on April 10, 2009


I'm a show-tune-hating atheist but man I love Superstar.

What the hell is it about this show? The sentence quoted above is me exactly. I find it occasionally embarrassing, like having an ugly wart that nobody but me knows about. Whatever. I will still lose my shit every time I hear Yvonne Elliman go absolutely berserk at the climax of "What's the Buzz?"

Let me try to cool down your face a bit
Let me try to cool down your face a bit
Let me try to cool down your face a bit
Let me tryyyy-yyyy--YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

posted by Skot at 10:31 AM on April 10, 2009


I saw JCS several years ago with Ted Neely and Carl Anderson and was just blown away by Carl Anderson. Ted Neely even then, in the early 90s, was cracking on the high notes. He still had a great stage presence, though. But I was so gobsmacked by Carl Anderson that I waited by the stage door to get his autograph. He was genuinely nice and made conversation with us for a while. Was so sad when he died.
posted by Addlepated at 10:31 AM on April 10, 2009


Oh god... Murray Head... the mere mention of that name and I start twitching. He gets his kicks above the waistline, sunshine.*

*(Funny thing... I used to think the lyric was "suction" not "sunshine." I was always too afraid to look up why he'd call someone in Bangkok "suction," though. I was relieved when I found out I had that lyric wrong.)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:37 AM on April 10, 2009


Meanwhile, in the Philipines
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 10, 2009


From the last link: “Oh good, Jesus is going to heal that hot Bearcub that just got stabbed by the Roman Guard.” I much prefer Godspell to JCS, but I'd go see the latter just to hear that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:54 AM on April 10, 2009


I love, love, love JCSuperstar. I play it every easter. I have the original vinyl even.

But I had no idea Ted Neeley was still doing it. I thought he died years ago. Maybe it was Judas that died.
posted by dejah420 at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2009


Jesus Christ Dinosaur!
posted by homunculus at 12:22 PM on April 10, 2009


Count me in, Another showtunes hater who likes this. The music is too good. Carl Anderson = awesome.
Yvonne Elliman also sand backup for Eric Clapton on a lotta hits including I shot the Sheriff...fyi.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2009


Granpa, what are you doing?
Pretending to be Jesus honey.
Why?
Because people pay me to.
...why?

"The Jesus in my head is 22 years-old and fresh out of community college"
Dude, you don't think his dad could get him into an ivy league school? He'd be a total legacy.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:01 PM on April 10, 2009


Do you all dress up as disciples and go and sing along with the cast or something?

Ouch. I'm not sure I should admit to this, but I was at a party once where a spontaneous production sort of broke out, and a bunch of Romans got up on the hosts' dining room table and cracked one of its legs.
posted by tangerine at 4:48 PM on April 10, 2009


I'm glad it's not just me at least. Don't know why I like this, the other stuff my parents used to play (Fiddler, Joseph, Evita) didn't take and I've never been interested in or cared about religion either. But I do *shrug*.

The recording I have is the very original stage version I think and, to be honest, it's kind of crap. Thin and crackly and poorly mixed in places. I'd like to get a better one but I'm not sure which one to go for. I know the album my parents had (the one I grew up listening to) has at least some of the original cast but it's not the whole score and I don't remember details. I used to have another copy from somewhere that was better, kept that cheesy seventies rock vibe with decent quality sound (and Carl Anderson!) but I have no clue which one it was. There always seems to be several versions to chose from and I can't afford to keep buying them til I strike a good one.
posted by shelleycat at 5:48 PM on April 10, 2009


Dude, you don't think his dad could get him into an ivy league school? He'd be a total legacy.

No way, his dad wasn't allowed in because he was Jewish.
posted by Snyder at 11:07 PM on April 11, 2009


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