‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ comes back from the dead - MRCAESAR.COM


Sunday, 1 April 2018

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ comes back from the dead

John Legend’s voice was enough to make you believe in God.(NBC)
The king is legend.
Far enough removed from frilly, glossy hits like “Peter Pan,” “Hairspray” and “The Sound of Music,” NBC returned to the circus of live music with a true spectacle in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
A rollicking, rocking production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic marked the end of Lent from the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg with a loud, brash, heartwrenching tale of Jesus’ last days.
The final scene of “Jesus Christ Superstar” was a breathtaking symbol. (NBC)
John Legend, in what resembled a white sweatsuit and wife Chrissy Teigen’s cardigan, stunned in the lead role, previously played by Jeff Fenholt, Ted Neeley, William Daniel Grey, Glenn Carter and Paul Alexander Nolan. Taking a less glam rock inspiration than his predecessors, the singer’s acting seemed less important than his God-given voice that could heal lepers — can we talk about the falsetto in “Gethsemane (I Only Wanted to Say)” please?
But the supporting cast stood out in the dark, busy set: Ben Daniels as Pontius Pilate, the man who dreams Jesus’ execution; Norm Lewis as Caiaphas, the judge who sends Jesus to his death; “Hamilton” star Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot; and, above all, the soft-spoken, angelic-singing Tony- and Grammy-nominated songwriter Sarah Bareilles as Mary Magdalene.
Sara Bareilles stunned as a quiet, heartbroken Mary Magdalene.(NBC/CRAIG BLANKENHORN/NBC)
While producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Smash”) stayed true to the original production, the production went modern for Jesus’ arrest, which included a blinding paparazzi attack as Legend was dragged off stage.
Alice Cooper, playing King Herod, had the most fun in his brief song, a bizarre, perfect pageant of feathers and showgirls and eye makeup.
“King Herod’s Song” remained the most fun number of the production. (NBC/PETER KRAMER/NBC)
Legend, the least experienced of all, held his own with a voice that could raise the dead and enough acting chops to pull off the role — particularly during the 39 lashes — proving that NBC really does know what it’s doing.
The final shot was breathtaking: the stage split into a cross and Jesus rose to his death, a beautifully lit, over-the-top, impossible message that whispered and shouted at the same time.
“Jesus Christ Superstar” was an ambitious production, and it worked. It was loud and quiet and brazen and soft and everything it needed to be.
Also, there were so many scarves. Just so many scarves.
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