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Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of the last seven days of the life Jesus of Nazareth. It is set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Tim Rice. Superstar opened On Broadway in 1971 and moved onto the West End a year later. Imagine the world’s reaction to a new musical whose subject matter was based on the Bible and set to rock music, the musical genre of rebellion and youthful uprising! Many of its critics considered the musical to be sacrilegious, in fact Jesus Christ Superstar was banned here in South Africa where it was considered to be irreligious with its underlying themes of celebrity and (super)stardom, and it’s intermittent use of humour. What further fuelled the hype around the show was the fact that the recording of the show’s score topped the American album charts three times. In 1969 the title songs from this new rock-opera reached the top of the British Pop charts. This cross mixture of theatre music and rock music, a formula that Webber and Rice would use again in Evita, combined with the social/cultural climate of the time, set Superstar apart from it’s contemporaries. A new generation of audiences would leave the theatre having heard simple and catchy melodies that they were soon able to sing along to, and which were reinforced by the airtime they received on the pop charts. But it wasn’t all about the music, Tim Rice’s cynical and cutting lyrics, and his use of the contemporary slang of the time appealed to the youngsters of the sixties and seventies, making it all the more controversial and ultimately successful. Jesus Christ Superstar has been reproduced frequently around the world, with many directors choosing to set the show in the present. Even 30 years later, there are so many similarities in theme to our modern existence that the show remains significant and to the point, and is still accessible to a new generation of audiences.


The South African Production opens in Johannesburg on the 12 April 2006 and transfers to Cape Town in June. Direction is by Paul Warwick Griffin, Musical Direction by Charl Johan Lingenfelder and Choreography by Tim le Roux. Cito plays Jesus, Robert Finlayson plays Judas, Candida Mosoma plays Mary, Anton Luitingh plays Pontius Pilate and Rowan Cloete plays Herod.

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