12 Oct: Dirty Weird! Jesus Story!

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ opened at New York’s Mark Hellinger Theater on 12th October, 1971. The Guardian summarized the show as “the work of two young Englishmen, from an original story by God.”

The production was the first to be mounted in a traditional venue – but was far from being the first live performance of the rock opera, which had been staged in a series of illegal and unathorised concerts across America, following the incredible popularity of the original concept album there.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how a failed bid to write a Eurovision entry led to the genesis of this iconic musical; consider why the album performed underwhelmingly in Britain before storming the States; and reveal why Lloyd Webber believed his Broadway debut was ‘one of the worst nights’ of his life…

Further Reading:

• ‘Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of Jesus Christ Superstar’ (Playbill, 2019): https://www.playbill.com/article/look-back-at-the-original-broadway-production-of-jesus-christ-superstar

• ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar: Jews, Christians and Andrew Lloyd Webber hated the show at first’ (Stuff, 2018): https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/stage-and-theatre/102773312/jesus-christ-superstar-jews-christians-and-andrew-lloyd-webber-hated-the-show-at-first

• ‘Jesus Christ Superstar: 1971 Broadway Production (Rehearsals, Opening Night)’: