Jesus Christ Superstar

Hello. Does anyone remember the “rock opera” Jesus Christ Superstar from about 1973 staring Ted Neeley as Jesus?

I grew up listening to the soundtrack and I’m wondering what the Catholic Church’s opinion is on this musical. I just listened to it again for the first time in years and I feel like I’m hearing it for the first time. Not sure I like it this time around.

Thank you!

I personally like it. I see it as how Judas sees Jesus, not necessarily how the rest of us should see Him. I think it’s an entertaining film with great music. Though I believe that the RCC doesn’t like the film that much. But I’m a Andrew Lloyd Webber fan.

You might want to research this forum for a thread on Jesus Christ Superstar. I think it occurred around Easter time. The discussion got a little heated.

I’m new here. How would I find a thread from Easter?

Thank you!

Here are some threads :slight_smile:

There is no problem starting a new thread. It’s just as good as resurrecting an old one. For me, I like the musical. Yes, it has a lot of goofy stuff and even some error, but like all Christian faith traditions, it also contains Truth. I would not recommend it for anyone not well-grounded enough to see the errors that are present.

Thanks, all, for the input and links to previous threads. I have listened to the soundtrack many times throughout my life: as a young Catholic school girl, as a rebellious 20-something who walked away from the Catholic faith, as a mellowed but indifferent 30-something, and now as a 42-yr old Catholic “revert” for the last six years.

It’s interesting how I’ve caught errors this time around that I never noticed before! But I still enjoy the music. Maybe not the entire content as much, but the music seems to be timeless (unlike the listener!).


My favourite recording is the 1996 Cast. I believe this recording was how Lloyd-Webber always imagined it to be.

Zubin Varla as Judas is perfect! And Steve Balsame is an amazing Jesus, better than Ted in my opinion. I dare Ted to outperform Steve in the Gethsemane song!

I also like the rock opera as well as the films, but we shouldn’t deny that the 1973 film didn’t age that well.
BTW, did you know that Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson were originally slated to perform at the Vatican around 2004, were it not for Carl’s illness and death? And according to both Norman Jewison and Ted (as per the DVD commentary), some folks from the L’Osservatore Romano came to Norman and viewed the film. I quote:

Norman: I was more concerned, I think, that - on the release of the film - that everyone would turn on it, and, of course, when the Vatican sent the Roman L’Osservatore Romano, the newspaper in Rome which is the spokesman for the Vatican, they sent a journalist from Rome with the Monsignor, and they came and I showed them the film at Pinewood Studios in England. And I kind of held my breath, because I didn’t know how they were going to react to it. And, of course, we didn’t have Italian subtitles on it, but they were aware of the project and, when they came out, they were just totally overwhelmed.
Ted: They were. And I remember specifically…
Norman: One of them said: “Not since Leonardo da Vinci!” and they were just overwhelmed with the effect that it had on them. And I think they took that back to the Vatican and then, of course, I was contacted and I sent a print to the Vatican so that it could be screened for the Pope. So we did, as I remember, I think we pretty well had the support of the Vatican.
Ted: Oh absolutely. And, I remember specifically, because one thing that was said so amazingly was about my involvement - the quote was: “That boy that plays Jesus should be canonized!
Norman: So sweet, isn’t it?

Were it not for the fact that Ted’s actually a Southern Baptist. :stuck_out_tongue:

If there’s one incorrect (from a Catholic lens), that would be:

For all you care, this wine could be my blood,
For all you care, this bread could be my body.
The end - this is my blood you drink,
This is my body you eat,
If you would remember me when you eat and drink.

That said, the Last Supper still is one of my favorite songs up there. The naiveness and misunderstanding (dare I say, the blindness) of Jesus’ own disciples - one of the major themes of the Gospel of Mark - is perfectly captured with the chorus: “Always hoped that I’d be an apostle, knew that I would make it if I tried / Then when we retire, we can write the Gospels, so they’ll still talk about us when we’ve died.” Instead of humbling themselves, they still seek the higher way.

Yes, every so often, a JCS thread pops up. It comes up a lot less often than other topics, though. :slight_smile:

There is no official Catholic position on the musical. The Church does not make official pronouncements on specific works of popular media.

As with many works, there are good things and bad things with JCS. Being a musical, even more depends upon who is putting the performance on and what they do with it. I think it can be done very well.

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