Context


Jesus Christ Superstar has become a musical phenomenon that permeated musical, cinematic, and religious culture. When the original 1970 concept album premiered in the U.S., it made its way to the “Top 10” on the Billboard charts, and was followed by a blockbuster, albeit controversial, 1971 Broadway run. Condemned by religious groups and activists, the hippie-rock musical was met with protests from both Christian and Jewish groups. The show enjoyed successful runs across the U.K. and in countries around the world, and in 1973, was made into a blockbuster (and subsequently Golden-Globe nominated) film, solidifying Superstar’s place in pop culture. The musical has helped define the careers of many world-class musicians and performers, including Maury Head and Ben Vereen, and Carl Anderson, Ted Neeley, and Yvonne Elliman, featured in both stage and screen productions. Even into the 2000s and 2010s, Ted Neeley leads an international arena tour of the stage production, playing Jesus. Broadway revivals in the late 1990s and 2000s, as well as the show’s popularity among professional and community groups around the world, solidified Jesus Christ Superstar as one of the most popular and culturally pervasive musicals in recent decades.

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