I am a tough critic. Back in the last century, I saw the original production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. It was unforgettable; the energy and presence of a young, yet unknown, Ben Vereen as Judas electrified the stage. A teacher at my high school organized a bus trip to the City to see it; I couldn’t race fast enough to get the money and sign on. Looking back, it was a very “relaxed trip.” We were given free reign over the City before show time….Others had partners; I was always a loner. I remember walking around the block by myself….I had a lot more courage back then, before age and worries about what ifs invaded my brain. I felt energized and excited; I can still remember what I was wearing…..a velvet black blazer and boots, jeans tucked inside. I snagged that beautiful blazer on a street vendor’s cart and tore a gash in the side…..funny the things you remember.
Last night……John put his heart into that role, but I think he really didn’t own it until upon the cross. Just like Ben, it was Judas who electrified the stage. I really don’t like mixing Jesus in with cell phones and it was like Twilight Zone seeing Alice Cooper as King Herod with his feather dancing groupies. I am old school, I like Jesus in the desert and followers in robes……(though I must admit, the use of scarves was very cleverly portrayed throughout the performance.)
On the whole, the show was a success……as energizing as my solitary walk among the streets of Broadway……and if cell phones and feathers make it more appealing to this generation….then, so be it………
For me, the memory of watching the original will never be surpassed……until one day when the real cast of characters is revealed…..especially the one with the real gash on his side.