Shows J

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York 12 October, 1971 (711 perfs) Palace Theatre, London 9 August, 1972 (3358 perfs) SYNOPSIS Jesus Christ Superstar traces the last seven days of the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Judas fears that the compassionate movement with Jesus at its head has become a personality cult with many of Jesus' statements being taken up and twisted by his followers. Jesus must be stopped! Jesus is regularly ministered to by a street woman, Mary Magdalen but what is worse, he is being hailed as the Messiah. Judas meets with the Priests of Judaea and resulting from the meeting agrees to betray Jesus for which he will receive 30 pieces of silver in payment. Meanwhile, Jesus preaches throughout the land offering riches in the after-life - but not here on earth. Pontius Pilate, a Roman Officer, dreams of a strange Galilean whose path will cross his own and cause Pilate to be despised. Jesus throws out the traders in the Temple and has a last supper with his followers when he lets Judas know he is aware of the coming betrayal. At Gethsemane, Jesus prays for strength for the coming ordeal but also for the deliverance that he knows is not possible. When Judas brings the soldiers to Gethsemane Jesus does not resist arrest. When he is brought before Pilate, he is recognised as the subject of Pilate's own dreams. Pilate refuses to convict him and send Jesus to Herod. Judas, meanwhile, has committed suicide by hanging himself. Back in Pilate's court, Herod, too, has refused to convict Jesus, but the rabble insists. Jesus is convicted and crucified. STORY Act I Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Apostles, worries that the followers of Jesus are getting out of control and may be seen as a threat by the Roman Empire, who might harshly suppress them (Heaven on Their Minds). The other apostles anticipate going to Jerusalem with Jesus and ask him about his plans, but Jesus tells them not to worry about the future (What’s the Buzz). Mary Magdalene tries to help Jesus relax. Judas tells Jesus that he should not associate with Mary, because a relationship with a sex-worker could be seen as inconsistent with his own teachings and be used against him (Strange Thing Mystifying). Jesus tells Judas that he should not judge others unless he is without sin. Jesus then reproaches the apostles and complains that none of them truly cares about him. Mary Magdalene tries to reassure Jesus while anointing him with oil (Everything’s Alright). Judas angrily says that the money spent on oil should have been used to help the poor. Jesus answers that they do not have the resources to end poverty, and that they should be glad for what comforts they have. Meanwhile, Caiaphas, the High Priest of Israel, assembles the Pharisees and priests. Like Judas they fear that Jesus’s followers will be seen as a threat by the Romans, and that many Jews might suffer the consequences. Caiaphas concludes that for the greater good, Jesus must be killed (This Jesus Must Die). As Jesus and his followers arrive exultantly in Jerusalem, they are confronted by Caiaphas, who demands that Jesus disperse the crowd. Jesus instead greets the happy crowd (Hosanna). Then Simon the Zealot suggests that Jesus lead his mob in a war against Rome and gain absolute power. Jesus rejects this, stating that none of his followers understand what true power is (Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem). Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, has a dream in which he meets a Galilean and then receives the blame for the man’s violent death at the hands of a mob (Pilate’s Dream). Jesus arrives at the Temple and finds that it is being used as a marketplace; angered by this, he drives everyone out (The Temple). A group of lepers ask Jesus to heal them. Their number increases, and overwhelmed, Jesus rejects them. Mary Magdalene sings him to sleep (Everything’s Alright (Reprise)). While he sleeps, Mary acknowledges that she is in love with him, and it frightens her (I Don’t Know How to Love Him).