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Entries in Godspell (2)

Sunday
Apr012018

Beauty Break: He is Risen

Did you love Jesus Christ Superstar Live!? John Legend was in spectacular voice as Jesus and kudos also to Tony nominee (and one of my favorite Broadway stars) Norm Lewis as Caiaphas. But the scene stealer of the night was Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon who stole the show as Judas Iscariot. He was a glittering reminder, particularly in disco chainmail in the closing fantasy sequence (since Judas had already committed suicide), that live performing is a unique skill set. Imagine your average movie star trying to keep up that much physical and emotional energy for two plus hours while leaping around a stage and singing at the top of their lungs. If anything Dixon's energy only grew as the night wore on. Just stunning. (I'm not talking about his body, but that too.)  

Though Jesus Christ Superstar! was in some ways an odd dated musical choice for a mainstream family event (it's not remotely 'funny' for one)  it was the best produced "Live" musical since that became an annual thing. The set design and direction were amazing, culminating in a major wow of a finale. Still don't love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score and can't fathom why people doing the orchestrations for Lloyd Webber revivals never think to subvert the oh-so-70s electric guitar sound (also a weird issue with the 1996 Evita movie) but you can't have everything.

Since this particular production had all kinds of gorgeous men in fine voice and equally fine body, let's end this Easter weekend sharing photos of the hottest men to have ever played Jesus in the movies or on television before John Legend's go at it. The gallery is after the jump...

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Monday
Jul282014

1973 Look Back: Biblical Musicals

Our celebration of 1973 continues with Andrew on Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar

In 1970 John-Michael Tebelak was completing work on his master’s thesis project about Jesus Christ at Carnegie Mellon University. Before long he would pair up with musician and lyricist Stephen Schwartz and in May of 1971 the musical Godspell would officially begin playing. Around the same time, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were finalising work on a rock album, a concept musical of sorts, on the last ten days of Jesus' life. The album would be released in the fall of 1970, and one year later Jesus Christ Superstar, the musical developed from the soundtrack, would open on Broadway. By some weird happenstance the fates of the two Jesus musicals would be tied*. Two years later, the two musicals (both moderate hits on stage by that time) saw screen adaptations released in 1973.

One religious stage-musical adapted to the big screen is a curiosity; two religious film musicals – both of them from recent stage hits -  in a single year is fascinating. Two religious film musicals in the same year from recent stage hits which both cover, generally, the same subject? Too intriguing to ignore.

Two Jesus musicals, two very different Jesuses. More...

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