Sing-Along Jesus Christ Superstar

Guestblogger Paul Spinrad is a freelance writer/editor with Catholic interests, and is Projects Editor for MAKE magazine. He is the author of The VJ Book and The Re/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids, and was an early contributor to bOING bOING when it was an online zine. He lives in San Francisco.

As a kid, I liked classical and easy listening music, not the rock or disco that other kids listened to. But at age 12 or 13, I was, for some reason, moved to tape Jesus Christ Superstar off of the radio. I played that cassette over and over again, memorized the whole show, then kept playing it and singing along whenever I got the chance. I played it loud, too, turning the volume up higher than I'd ever wanted to before. I was cranking JCS one evening when my dad came home from work. With an expression of curiosity, he asked me why I had the music up so loud. I said "I don't know," and then he asked if I'd gotten the idea from anywhere. I told him no, and he said, "Hmm-- interesting!" He didn't disapprove, but I got the sense that he recognized something happening to me.

JCS taught me the story of Jesus, which as a jewish boy in Los Angeles, I never knew. It had a huge impact on me. Ever since, I've looked at the world in terms of Jesus vs. Rome, righteous rebellion vs. institutional power, hippie values vs. capitalist values, love vs. control. As far as I'm concerned, the "hippie Jesus" of the 1960s and early 1970s is the true Jesus (and centuries of art bear me out on this, at least superficially). "Jesus Was A Hippie" -- that's the tagline for my imaginary ad campaign to take Christianity back from all the high-power imposters and restore it to its apolitical, communitarian roots.

Continued after the jump 

I've long outgrown my love for much music I used to like (Spyro Gyra, I'm talking to you), but never JCS. I was indignant when I flipped through the 1980 book The Golden Turkey Awards and saw Ted Neeley picked for "Worst Performance As Jesus Christ" in the movie version. And I've always been attuned to other JCS-lovers, other people who know all the words. Mitchell Morris, professor of Musicology at UCLA, you probably don't remember me, but I'm a friend of your grad school colleague Steve. About 15 years ago, when we were all having lunch one day, JCS came up, and I know you know all the words too! Some BB readers may recall, which was the first website that had a new fun thing for me to read every day. One day on Suck, a cartoon character's speech balloon said, "Fools-- you have no perception! The stakes we are gambling are frighteningly high!" This is a line sung by Caiaphas in the song "Jesus Must Die," and seeing it in such a different context (which I also liked) gave an explosive jolt to my soul-mate radar.

In more recent years, the rock band Skycastle performed the show around Easter every year at the Transmission Theater in San Francisco, staging it with costumed singers, minimal props, and no scenery. I went a couple of times (I think they stopped, unfortunately), and it was always a thrill. Pretty much everyone in the friendly audience of like-minded JCS-heads sing along to the whole thing. I imagine that outside of a gospel church, there is no feeling more righteous than that of screaming, "Die if you want to, you misguided martyr!" with 200 other people over wailing guitars and crashing cymbals. My friends John and Sophia say that a band in Boston used to do the same thing over there, with the same annual success.

Which brings me to my business proposition. I love karaoke and sing-alongs, and I've been pleased to see the success of subtitled, sing-along versions of The Sound Of Music, Grease, Mamma Mia and other favorite musical movies. So how about a sing-along Jesus Christ Superstar? It's a trivial job technically-- just some time spent pasting lyrics into a video editor. I have the movie on DVD and I could do it bootleg, but I think it needs to be legal so that it could be advertised, shown in theaters and churches, and draw crowds. It would be good, clean fun-- who could object? I understand that JCS was disliked by many religious leaders when it was new, but if they had just felt threatened by the hippie-ness of it, I'm sure that has since faded.  

So it's basically a rights and distribution issue. I've tried to track down who subtitled The Sound Of Music, but had no success. I've asked two entertainment lawyers that I know where I might start with something like this, and they don't know. So: does anyone in Boingboing-land know how I might do this, or how much it would cost? Does anyone want to invest in the project? Did I just blow it by posting this, thereby possibly signaling the rights owner to inflate their price or do it themselves? I don't care-- as long as somebody gets it out there.


  1. Pasting lyrics into a video editor? Subtitles would seem an easier way to go. Drop a text file with the time cues into the same folder with the video file et viola. A search on one of the subtitle sites brought up a hojillion results.

    Tech end done, now find the right lawyer.

    Oddly enough, my captcha is “sputum Zion”.

  2. I have lovely memories of doing a small community production of JCS years back. The cast, a group of rank amateurs and (mostly) total strangers, bonded deeply over the course of the production and really gave it their all. Our efforts struck a chord with folks in our small, conservative town, pulling in great numbers, and I had people telling me for years afterwards how much they’d loved it.

    For all the cheese and sheer bad taste one could rightly accuse JCS of possessing, it retains a genuine power, even for this weathered old agnostic. And the music really is fun to sing along to.

  3. Hmmm, maybe a DVD of Ted Neeley et al. with pasted-in lyrics; but why not a CC-licensed karaoke version? Or (for that matter) why not launch a site that warehouses various open-sourced performances of songs from JCS (with lyric crawl, or without; if they’re CC-derivs licensed, someone else could edit in lyrics)?

    If Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice are short of money and worried about people enjoying JCS without paying them, one could put lots of links to commercial versions of the musical.

  4. Ever heard Alice Cooper’s cover of King Herod’s Song? It’s surprisingly good, way better than the original cast recording (which, sadly, isn’t saying much).

  5. In the late ’80s, when the original NES system came out, I would always, for some reason, play to JCS. We had the original recording on a double album (vinyl) .

    I’d cue it up, turn the sound on the game off, and play Metroid.

  6. I really enjoyed this post! I identify and concur with much of it. “CUT the CONFESSION, forget your EXCUSES, we need INFORMATION, GET UP off the FLOOR.” (And so many others.)

    I wish I could help, because it sounds like a cool project, but alas, I have no answers to the questions you seek resolved. Just wanted to quickly mention the video of JCS’s last Broadway incarnation… awesome. Not perfect, but pretty damn good. Great Judas. Overblown Pilate. Oh well. Anyway…

    Good luck. And thanks!

  7. There’s little in this world more awesome than JCS.

    I knew I’d chosen wisely when I found out my wife could sing the whole thing in Portuguese.

  8. I love this idea, and I would be one of the mob you’d need to help get it into churches.

    I would think that the first step is to check into who owns the performance rights to the movie. I’m assuming you’re talking about the 1973 version. IMDB says that Universal Pictures [us] owns the theatrical rights, but I’m not in the biz, so I can’t see contact info.


  9. I just had one of those, “Oh wow, there’s other people like me!” moments. “My mind is clearer now. At last all to well I can see…” 8)

    I can still remember my Dad listening to it, and sitting down with him as he walked me through the story. A few weeks later I can remember giving my Mom a huge hug when we were Sam Goody and she offered to buy me the cassette. Later I remember my Dad coming home on one of those rare nights where it was just him and me with the video. We ate “Dad food,” and watched as a group of hippies drove up in a bus and made a set in the desert.

    Having been raised Catholic, I think my parents happy that I was learning the story of the crucifixion, but it was never really about that for me. It was, and still is, something about the music and the rhythm of the lyrics that sweeps me up in it every time I hear them.

    Of course the funny thing is that while I’m not a religious person, I still more about the story of Christ and the crucifixion then some of the more devout people I know. Sure, I went to CCD and I was Confirmed, so we went over all this stuff, but I know it has more to do with JCS then anything else.

    I really wish I knew more about entertainment law so that I could help out, but all I can think of is that the rights holders really shouldn’t have too much of a problem with something like this as long as they see how many people would be interested in something like this, and, of course, how they can make money off of it.

    If this ever gets figured out and there’s a showing in NYC, or if you need help organizing one in NYC, let me know.

  10. Yeah, I have pretty much the same experience, minus the big-city thrill of ever seeing anyone perform it live. I’ve been an atheist since before I heard it, but the music kicks ass anyway. Favorte line– “my god/I am sick/I’ve been used– and you knew/all the time”

  11. I am attracted to Jesus because of his radical nature, too. But if his life ended permanently on that Roman cross, I think Caesar really won, and continues to win, the day.I’m not saying that’s a good argument for the Resurrection, but I am saying that shit gets dramatically, even cosmically, more political when you consider the full gravity of the Christ vs. Caesar question as articulated by the early church. Calling someone “The Son of God,” a title held by Caesar Augustus, is far, far from apolitical.

  12. Great post! I got the jolt just by seeing the headline in Safari’s preview.

    I confess to be devoted fan. I grew up to it when by bro was into early rock, and I do know all the words. And in spite of everybody saying I’m the worst singer and will probably end up murdered for singing loud, I manage to get JCS almost bearable ))

    I agree with you that Hippy Jesus is way better than official theology. Personally I consider religion as the core of all things evil that are happening to society. Maybe karaoke introduction would be a step to dismantle the Church’s power.

    I propose to everybody interested – why don’t we somehow organize a web-based project aiming to list all songs there with lyrics, and maybe branches with other versions – like Alice Cooper’s mention above.

    I imagine we will need either the original recording layers in order to get the voices out, or a help from sound engineer to muffle them.

    I can offer hosting in Ukraine – gets everybody involved from under the copyright laws. As long as I can I would do anything to counterweight repression of information freedom. Agents of authorities reading this can go to hell, I shall not abide.
    I can set up ssh or ssl access for encrypted protection. Whatever results this collaboration achieves could be put on YouTube for all I care – my aim is not to make money on it, and I think JCS should be public domain anyway. I would love it if it makes it to standard karaoke disks you find in karaoke bars around the world. I would even give up giving up drinking if that was the case.

  13. Phew! I’m glad to know I’m not the only nice Jewish boy who grew up obsessed by Jesus Christ Superstar. In the late 70’s my family got a Betamax player and the first movie my parents bought was JCS (soon to be followed by Fiddler on the Roof). I must have watched it about six hundred times. One thing I’ll say for him – Jesus is cool! At least this one.

  14. please, PLEASE count me in. i’m a fan of the original london though, so, sorry if that offends. = ]

  15. Music Box Theatre. Chicago. Let’s do it there, record it, and there’ll be enough transformative material that we can eke by on fair use. They’ve done sing-along Sound of Music and White Christmas, with the live organist contributing as well as a packed audience in costume.

  16. You’re SOOOO close on this one.

    What we need (and what I think is much more likely to be granted by the rights holders) is a Rock Band video game version of the work.

    Then you get the vocals, bass, drums, guitar–all of it, gloriously disseminated for the next generation.

    JCSS is one of my favorite pieces of music, period.

  17. Fun to see JCSS fanatics coming out of the woodwork on BoingBoing —

    For me, the portrayal of Jesus as a “hippie” is far less powerful than the humanizing of Jesus and Judas — Rice and Webber did a masterful job with the lyric and music, letting the conflict and passion (pun intended) of the story shine through. To me, “Gethemane” is much more emotionally powerful than the four verses in Luke 22.

    My favorite version of the soundtrack was done in the 90s by a group of Atlanta musicians (including the Indigo Girls as Jesus and Mary), with a very similar passion for the show to this post as the motive to do it. And it puts the ROCK back in the Rock Opera.

    1. I second the “Indigo Girls” version for two different reasons: 1. Jesus’ portrayal as a woman singer lends an entirely new dimension to the storyline in a way that still fits the “Jesus vs. Rome” message; 2. I choose to draw a parallel between the “Hippie” aspersions of the original, and the Amy and Emily’s sexuality (not with each other but being openly gay).

  18. I don’t know if showing it in churches is the best idea in the world. I remember almost every time I’ve seen it on stage, the more churchy members of the audience would leave halfway through. It doesn’t really have a pro-organized religion message. Which is why I always loved it, particularly the title song.

  19. “Till this evening is this morning life is fine”… it’s one of the things in my random-play rotation right this minute and yes I sing along. My views of Christianity and rebellion versus authority were shaped by two (opposing?) views: this and the Life of Brian (“what have the Romans ever done for us?”). As it happens, both introduced to me in a timely manner by my dad. Now that’s theological discourse.

  20. Ah yes, I wowed my parents at the age of about 13 by singing the entire opera (all the parts) during a long car trip with no radio. They were not impressed by my singing ability (which was, and sadly remains, limited) but by my knowing it all and evincing such gusto. I loved all the classic Webber/Rice musicals. The only problem with the sing-along is that I never liked the movie much — just the music (I had records of both the British and the New York versions).

  21. My wife introduced me to JCS when we first started dating which lead to my purchase the two record set in a local thrift shop which included a hymnal so that we could sing along.

  22. In high school I would do acappella performances of the more dramatic JCS scene; I’d do them in the cafeteria during lunch along with a teacher. I was a geek, sure, but people loved it. Favorite line: “How do we deal with a man who is bigger/than John was when John did his baptism thing?”

  23. “Jesus Christ, Superstar
    Do you think you’re what they say you are?”

    The central question of Christianity summed up in one short sentence.

  24. i too am a closeted knower of all the lyrics to JCS–it is my only easter tradition, as an adult, to get it out for the once yearly listen-through. though i was raised in the church, i was done with it at about age 12, and JCS, when i discovered it through a boyfriend in high school, was a new way to respect what i had grown to disdain. i’ve often told my husband that if we had kids, i’d want to “raise” them or educate them in a variety of religious traditions as children; JCS would definitely be a part of learning the story of christianity. because, it rocks! and it teaches praise, it teaches faith, it teaches the human part of the story in ways i was never never exposed to as a child. the scene and song in gesthemane is one of the most powerful dramatic scenes, ever–still brings me to tears. though i don’t believe a word of it, it makes me respect.

    ho-sanna, hey-sanna, sanna sanna ho!

  25. According to Amazon the DVD is subtitled in English, French and Spanish. Turn on the subtitles on your DVD player, project it on a big screen and sing away.

    From a legal standpoint it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. If you go ahead and do it the worst the copyright owners can do is tell you to stop. Then you would know who they are and have the opportunity to plead your case to them(or make your business pitch if that’s the way you want to work it). If you ask first and they say “no,” going ahead and doing it is grounds to sue you.

  26. “I’ve been living to see you, dying to see you but it shouldn’t be like this.” Dammit, I’m going to be singing this all day now!

    After seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Toronto this idea of Jesus as Hippie & revolutionary has even more impact. If you get a chance to see the exhibit do so, but ignore the scrolls, they’re anti-climatic (unless you can read Hebrew, then I would imagine the scrolls are pretty awesome) but for me the real story was the rest of the exhibit on the walls, the differing views of history of the area the scrolls were found in is awesome, the videos of Christian, Jewish and Muslim historians are really a treat.

  27. Yet another Jewish-kid-in-Los-Angeles-who-learned-about-Jesus-via-JCS fan. I sang Mary’s “Everything’s Alright” to my children when they were babies as a lullaby (“Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and annoint you, Myrrh for your hot forehead, ohh don’t you know everything’s all right yes everything’s fine”). Which is especially funny as our family is Jewish and somewhat observant, so after Mary’s song I’d sing the Shema (short Hebrew prayer that is traditionally said right before bed).

  28. Count me as another one who memorized the whole of JCS around the age of 10 or 11. Does anybody remember the PBS version that aired 10-15 years ago? My recollection was that it was pretty good but I only saw it once.

    Humourous JCS story:
    I have the movie soundtrack piano score and was playing Herod’s Song the other day. I sang/played “Get out you king of the jews! Get out! and a minute later there was a knock on my door – Jehovah’s Witnesses! Oh sweet irony…

  29. I’ve seen the play many times and always practice Pontius Pilate’s songs before I go, just in case the understudy and the main actor are injured in the same car wreck, I could step forward from the audience – and the rest would be showbiz history.

    I would sing along a lot to the record as a kid. PP’s role is pivotal with good songs but not too many. If you want to be a total lazy ass you can go King Herod.


    That must be where Neutral Milk Hotel got that from, right?

  31. My Dad bought the original album (Ian Gillian as JC) when it came out. I was about 5. It made a huge impact on me musically. There wasn’t any comparable rock music in our house at that point, my Mom was a big Ed Ames fan and my Dad’s taste ran from bagpipe music to torchy female jazz singers, my oldest sister was a big Neil Diamond fan. JCS was a step out of that world and introduced me to rock vocals and joys of raunchy electric guitars (into to damned for all time). The story never really made sense to me until I revisited the album in my teens, where I noticed that the Jesus portrayed was human and a bit subversive.
    I’d much prefer a sing along to the original album. Ted Neeley is no replacement for Ian Gillian, and I think his Jesus sounds more noble and less whiny.

  32. I was introduced to JCS by working on the sound crew for an awesome modernized production with a full rock band offstage. We had a large black man with a *beautiful* voice playing Jesus, and an all-around amazing cast. Hearing that show sung live forty times really etched it into my brain. Far and away the most enjoyable production I’ve ever worked on. We also set up an extra mic backstage so the crew could join in on the “Hosana” chorus… because of that I can technically claim to have sung in a musical.

    Also, this:

  33. he’s a man
    he’s just a man
    he is not a king
    he’s just the same as anyone i know

    brilliant soundtrack for a great movie. can’t handle the stage productions though.
    ted neeley WAS the original jc wasn’t he?

    1. No, Neeley was not the original. Ian Gillan played Jesus on the original concept album; the Broadway production (which was the first official stage version) had Jeff Fenholt as Jesus. Neeley was one of Fenholt’s understudies, but he didn’t officially play the role until the film.

  34. “Jesus – you’ve started to believe, these things they say of you, you really do believe, this talk of god is true”

    That’s my fave line from JCS. What an AWESOME idea for both the Sing Along and the Rock Band version. I’ve loved it since I was about 11 and it always goes on my top 3 movies of all time.

  35. YES!!!

    I used to listen to the “Brown Album” on vinyl as a kid (it was released on CD with a white cover – how confusing!) and spent a significant amount of time several years ago finding the EXACT match of the recording on Amazon so that I could continue to enjoy it. I haven’t loaded a music player since I reloaded my computer months ago – apparently now I need to. If you manage to schedule this, I will come…

  36. I have a link to Sir Tim Rice that might help. I reckon if you can get one or both of the original writers on board then everything else will follow. Don’t really want to blab it all over here though!

    1. hi. i work with two fantastic artists PEACHES and CHILLY GONZALES who got denied a grand performance license to perform a stripped down (vocal and piano) version of JSCC in classy theaters in europe (hebbel in berlin, kampagnel in hamburg and donau festival in austria). Both are artists I can only image Tim Rice appreciating, as well as their idea of a “two man” show. I’m used to being told NO by licensing agents, publishers – I’m a music lawyer and have cleared samples for the likes of Daft Punk – but finding that if one can reach the author directly, they usually find the ideas coming from young artists to be amusing and interesting and say YES. if you truly can get a presentation of the artists and the project to Sir Time Rice, well we’d be ever so grateful. sincerely, melinda cody

  37. I’m sure it’s been posted on here before, but in case not, here’s a link to an amazing “Alternative” JCS compiled by Station Manager Ken at WFMU:

    It’s been a constant staple on my ipod for over a year and the People Like Us overture never fails to blow my mind.

    Now I’m going to have to get myself an all-english version before these sing-alongs start to take shape…..

  38. Like the author of the post, I learned everything about Jesus from JCS, am Jewish, and love the rock opera nearly as much as any other album.

    About 5 years ago, I forgot how, but I tracked down the email of the actor who played Pilate (both on album and in the movie). I thought he’d be British, but he’s American. He’s a hairdresser in LA, I believe. He was nice enough to respond to my email, and also shared some gossip on why the guy who was Judas on the album didn’t get cast in the movie.

  39. I am a hard core atheist. I also happen to love Jesus Christ Superstar, have memorized all the lyrics, and play the DVD over and over again. It’s a human drama that can appeal to people of almost any religious persuasion.

  40. I am agnostic leaning towards atheist, but I was always drawn to the Jesus in JCS because he was flawed and filled with doubt, and because Judas really seemed to be so torn. It took a two-dimensional story and made it more realistic. Even Pilate was frustrated at the part he was forced to play in God’s little drama.

    I sang the song Gethsemane as a solo in my high school choir performance. His anger and fear made his story much more meaningful for me, and made his sacrifice much more impressive than any story I’ve ever heard from the church. I mean, pain only really means anything because of the fear of injury and death. An avatar of Yahweh wouldn’t be bothered by a few nail holes and some dehydration. If Jesus truly knew he was the son of God and was heading for eternal bliss in Heaven, then his suffering on the cross becomes trivial in comparison. It was the idea that he might not be so sure – that he might not want to go through with it – that made his suffering have any meaning.

    Anyway, liked the article. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of why I love this musical. My mind is clearer now…

  41. Lots of common ground here for sure. Listened on an endless 8-track loop for at least a solid year, then moved on to the Who’s Tommy. Forty years later and every lyric quoted so far has instantly registered. Atheist, too, but great music and drama don’t require any attendant faith-based baggage.
    Always found Pilate’s pov especially compelling. “Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!”

  42. What a great soundtrack! Many splendid hours devoted to burning this JCS from start to finish into my young brain-EPROM when I was 10 years old.

    JCS Fun Fact: Yvonne Elliman sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, and also sang Billboard #1 “If I Can’t Have You”, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, another song that may be floating around in your memories of decades past.

  43. I came across a CD of a Tokyo stage production of the show – the lyrics were, of course, all in Japanese.

  44. How wonderful to find members of my tribe in this place.
    I discovered JCS when there was naught but a turntable available. I lugged my turntable to lots of places to spread the JCS around. My first real job was on the line at a Heinze pickle factory. I preserved my sanity that summer by singing JCS all the way through over and over again.

    It is a true masterpiece.

  45. Good to see the Jesus Christ Superstar Freaks come out of the woodwork. A life long drama nerd, I saw JCS when I was about 20 and it blew my mind above and beyond. The Gethsemane scene just kills me. (They all do, but that one in particular.) What a meditation on surrender! “ALLRIGHT! I’LL DIE!” Very powerful. And very scary to consider the social and political consequences wrought by those willing to die (and kill) for their God. *Shakes off cold chill*

    Still, a hungry market for JCS singalong products awaits your entrepreneureal efforts… Godspeed! :)

  46. I’m am also completely anti-religious, but have loved JCS (original album) since I was a teen…Always thought it was cool that the lead singer from Deep Purple was Hayzoose…A local production troupe (“The Barn Theatre”)staged this a few years ago, with the lead singer from Extreme in the title role…he did great, but alas…no Ted Neely…Why do folks not like him?!?

  47. Yay– great stories and pointers, everyone!

    That’s a good point about the DVD already having English subtitles– duh, I didn’t think of that!

    For those of you who know Sir Tim Rice, branwen and Gerry Shy, here’s a new scheme that I’d like to propose for forwarding to him:

    I live near the beautiful and historic Castro theater in San Francisco, which likes to do “special event” type screenings from time to time, including dress-up and sing-along shows– which are always a total blast. Perhaps Sir Rice would be interested in coming to SF and introducing a sing-along JCS there, speak a bit and answer questions beforehand, that kind of thing.

    If he might be interested and has a sense of possible dates and other necessary particulars, I’d be happy to try to contact the Castro Theatre folks here and make the proposal– or heck, he can just call the theater management himself and leave me out of it. Easter next year would be great, although I know they figure out their schedule pretty far in advance.

    Thanks– fingers crossed!

  48. For Sir Tim Rice’s appearance at the Castro Theatre, above, I neglected to include the suggestion, “…and serve as one of the judges for a Jesus / Mary Magdalene costume contest.”

  49. “Listen to that howling mob of blockheads in the street!!”

    This is so interesting…. this music has been a large part of my life since I was a teenager. I remember listening to “I don’t know how to love him ” on headphones over and over. In 1975 we put off our family vacation a day so we could go to the local production of the show, which I recorded on my portable cassette. We listened to it all the way from California to Vermont. Later, in the 90s when the local theater group did the play again, most of my family was in it, including my father, my daughter, 2 or 3 sister,and a few neices and nephews. It was awesome sitting in the audience, just me and my mom, watching them.
    I still know all the words by heart…
    NOTTROBB thank you much for the link, I love the Japanese version!

  50. Yes! But not just a sing-along movie (because I already know the words and can sing along with the unsubtitled version just fine anyway)

    But I think about this everytime I play Rock Band.. I wish I could download JCS songs and sing and play along with friends

  51. 70 comments in, and still no love for Murray Head? Ok, I’ll say it: this rock opera is all about Judas, as performed on the “brown” record by Murray Head (interestingly, the brother of Anthony Stewart Head, aka Rupert Giles from Buffy).

    Neither Head nor Ian Gillan (from Deep Purple) made it into the movie, which is why your idea, Paul Spinrad will never work….

    …unless you can get Murray Head and Ian Gillan to attend a performance! A Jesus and Judas reunion special!

    Work on it.

  52. I was a high school junior in 1995. Myself and two of my friends would pretty much spend every U.S. History class singing JCS. I know very little about U.S. history, but I can still recite every lyric to JCS!

  53. Fellow Jew who was swept away by JCS (audio only; have never seen the movie/play), and was introduced to it by another Jew (not Jesus). I also LOVE to sing along, so I want to go too (in NYC). Haven’t listened in years… I wonder how much would come back to me.

  54. Dear JCS friends and lovers,

    We will be doing a JCS sing-a-long in The Netherlands.
    We,, have (I think 6) licenses for performances end of March/beginning of April 2010.

    The performances wil be “concertant” so there will be no half-naked romans on stage :-( nor will Ted Neeley appear in waistcloth :-(

    Anyway, it’ll be fun and it actually already is during rehearsals.

    Come join us next March and sing out for yourselves. (Just made that slogan up right now..)


  55. Did this problem ever get solved? I book movies for a historical theatre right outside of Atlanta, GA and we’re looking to do some different sing alongs. We’ve done Mamma Mia and Grease, but Jesus Christ Superstar would be fantastic! Also, Universal does the distribution for that movie (they do Mamma Mia, too) and they are so easy and pleasant to work with.

  56. I am so encouraged to find this site! Great comments from all about JCS, wow.

    “My God I saw Him – he was three quarters dead,
    and he was so bad I had to turn my head…
    you beat Him so hard that he was bent and lame –
    and I know who everybody’s going to blame…”

    As well as: “And so the king…is once again my guest –
    and why is this ? Was Herod…unimPRESSED?”

    From those first ominous guitar notes of the Overture right to the grisly end, JCS is a mindblower and I LOVE it!

    I was raised in a typically liberal and godless household, child of the 70’s [I’m now 47]- but when my mom bought that dark brown triple album with the mysterious curvy cherubim on the cover [around 1973 or so] my world was rocked forever.
    I was intrigued by it – the riffs, the players, the story…I recall my brothers and I asking my parents “why did they kill Jesus?” and getting into these convoluted politico/theological discussions over dinner. Later, I found it amazing that the guy wailing “Smoke on the Water” on my radio was the Jesus of the production.
    For a kid like me, in a decidedly non-Christian household, it was one of my only exposures to the New Testament message [along with Handel’s Messiah, carols at Christmastime and Davey and Goliath – y’all remember them?].

    I later became a nihilist and an atheist for many years.
    But I still loved that soundtrack. We used to drink a lot and belt out the lyrics while posturing and playing air guitar [great fun – definitely TRY THIS AT HOME!]

    Then, in 1987, I received Christ as Savior, was born-again and became a committed Christian. The strange thing is, through all these phases, the power of JCS to move and radically inspire has never diminished. There are campy, cheesy parts for sure, but it can still bring me to the verge of tears as well. I love the film version visually [especially the beginning in the desert, the machine guns in the temple, and Christ’s agony in Gethsemane : “Show me just a little of your omnipresent brain…” ] but I agree with all who prefer the original London cast. Much stronger, in my opinion. I too have noticed a strange bond with fellow JCS fanatics, whether believers [there are some at my church] or non-believers. If you know and love the lyrics then that’s the only credential you need right? And you can’t fake it!

    Thanks for this website. Blessings to all. Jesus is Lord.

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