The Smoke Signal

“Jesus Christ Superstar’s” Jaw-Dropping New Live Concert a Blessed Easter Sunday Gift

Kevin Valdez, Journalist

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John Legend (left) had the starring role in Jesus Christ Superstar Live. Paul Nicholas (right) portrayed Jesus Christ in the 1972 West End shows. (photos by Thatcher Hullerman Cook and Allan Warren, both licensed under Creative Commons)

When a live version of the classic rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” was broadcasted live on NBC, it stayed true to its form when performed in front of two audiences, a crowd of those attending the performance, and those who tuned in to the event on TV. They would be in for a treat as both old and new elements from past adaptations were blended together to create the strongest rendition of the show.

I honestly don’t think it matters that an African-American portrayed Jesus Christ, but what kept me motivated was the energy the actors have when they’re acting and singing. Even Alice Cooper, who played King Herod, performed well and brought me to the edge of my seat. However, I, for one, lose myself during a production where almost every line of dialogue is sung out. I’m mostly into shows where there’s an equal amount of both speaking and singing, but other people alike will have a passion for it nonetheless.

Many people from religious groups criticized both the original album, Broadway, and movie adaptations when they first came out for how the opera portrayed Judas as too sympathetic and the fact that an African-American was cast, and how his criticisms of Jesus were offensive. As time goes on, this musical is well known and fewer people today criticize it due to it having a large fanbase. The fact that this production was scheduled to air on Easter Sunday is an appropriate time to better understand the legacy of Our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this can compare to the past showings as a mighty improvement, as it compiles almost everything that they had to offer.

The show still had that vibe that recalls the final week of Jesus’ life, despite a few flaws. Like past performances of the opera, this received a little bit of criticism, but not for the same reasons as the original since it has been performed many times now. John Legend does a great job singing as Jesus Christ, but some of his facial expressions when reacting tend to be the same on almost every occasion. Some instances where the crowd applauded made it seem a bit harder to understand the lyrics since it slightly drowned out the sound mix. Another thing to point out is that Easter Sunday is the day on the church calendar that marks Jesus’ resurrection, not the crucifixion, which makes the show’s ending a bit strange when it aired on that date.

Overall, if you like rock music but at the same time have a strong passion for Jesus and church, you’re part of the best kind of audience that this show could appeal to. Those who aren’t quite understanding about Jesus or only care about the music will also enjoy this production, and this includes the initial album, the first Broadway showing, the movie, and everything else that relates to this show.

My final rating for this production is 4 out of 5 stars because it provided everything that past adaptations had and improved their quality greatly, but there are still flaws that I had a problem with while viewing. Either way, I highly recommend it.

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“Jesus Christ Superstar’s” Jaw-Dropping New Live Concert a Blessed Easter Sunday Gift