‘Jesus Christ Superstar’: 5 Things To Know About The Controversial Rock Opera

Prepare yourself for the LIVE production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' on Easter Sunday with these five facts about the 1970's rock opera.

'Jesus Christ Superstar Live' Cast
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Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC

1.) ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ was created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The musical was created as a concept album in 1970 and later turned into a hit Broadway show in 1971. The rock opera loosely tells the story of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life, as told by the Gospels. It begins with the Gospels preparing for His arrival and ends with His crucifixion. The story also dives deep into the relationship Jesus had with Judas, a disciple who is best known in modern day as the one who betrayed Jesus.

2.) The musical caused lots of controversy. Unfortunately for Tim and Andrew, this meant that their Broadway production was heavily condemned by religious groups all over the country. Many also believed that it promoted anti-Semitic values, claiming that the musical suggested it was the Jewish community who was responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. The musical was even banned in South Africa and the Hungarian People’s Republic. However, the production has performed all over the world, including London, Venezuela, Sweden, and Paris.

3.) NBC turned it into a LIVE musical! On Easter Sunday, April 1, Jesus Christ Superstar Live will broadcast on NBC starting at 8pm ET. The live musical stars John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalane, and Alice Cooper as King Herod. Broadway vet and Tony Award nominee, Brandon Victor Dixon, will star as Judas. The live production will air from a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York with an interactive audience and an orchestra.

4.) The show has two acts. In Act I there are 12 songs, including Judas’ “Heaven on Their Minds” and Mary’s “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”. In Act II, which features the crucifixion, songs include “The Last Supper” and “Superstar”.

5.) ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ has a number of awards. The original 1972 Broadway show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Original Score. It was also nominated for and won the Drama Desk Award for Most Compromising Composer. The 1996 revival in London, England was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. In 2000 the show was revived on Broadway and received yet another Tony Award nomination for Best Revival of a Musical!

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