Friday, March 07, 2008

Tony gets his God on...

So Tuesday night I get a last minute call from my main man Thunder Thumbs who’s an accomplished bass player, father of two, and long time friend. He’s got an extra seat to Jesus Christ Superstar at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center since his wife had to bail for another commitment. Now, it’s worth noting that I stay as far away from Cobb County as I possibly can. After all, this is the very Georgia County where the school board actually voted to put stickers in high school science text books claiming that there are viable alternative theories to evolution. “JCS, just so happens to be the only musical production that I like” I told him, “I’m in.” Good thing I went.

I’d actually previously seen a stage production of JCS back in 2002 when the always thoughtful and lovely Mrs. Alva surprised me with tickets for my birthday. That production had Carl Anderson reprising his role of Judas Iscariot and Sebastian Bach was to play the role of the big man himself. Turned out that the former Skid Row front man pitched a drunken fuss and got himself booted from the show in Cleveland prior to the troupe’s arrival at the Fox Theatre here in Atlanta. Didn’t matter, the understudy was fantastic and Carl was unbelievable. It was a great production with a huge cast. Not being a big theatre guy, I assumed that Tuesday nights show would be somewhat similar in grandeur since Ted Neely, who played the role of Jesus in the 1973 Norman Jewison film would be starring. On top of that, I discovered that Living Color front man Cory Glover was to play the role of Judas.

While there were very minor signs of opening night bugs, it was truly a great performance. The production was drastically scaled back in comparison to the 2002 show I saw, but as I said, I’m not really a fan of the theatre anyway. I really care only about the music and the music in fact rocked! Thunder Thumbs played the Doubting Thomas (heh) during our pre-show beers in the lobby, stating emphatically that the nearly 65 year-old Neely would be unable to crank out those wailing screams as he did in the film over three decades ago (think “Get out!” during the money changers in the temple scene). How wrong he was about that. The dude VERY MUCH still has the pipes. Glover kicked major ass as Judas and I have to admit that I felt a little uncomfortable sitting in a Cobb County Georgia theatre while a black man hung from a noose during Judas’s epic suicide scene. I also thought that the Rev. Nelson redneck army might be in full force since the play’s script focuses on a human Jesus and takes a somewhat sympathetic view of Judas’s plight, but it didn’t happen much to my relief.

Director Dallett Norris’s took very few liberties with the script, but his King Herod scene (“You are the Christ, yes the great Jesus Christ, prove to me that you’re no fool, walk across my swimming pool…”) was entertaining and genuinely funny. The music was masterfully performed by six guys that made it sound like triple that number (I’m always amazed at how these touring Broadway bands do that). The score was true to the original film/sound track which I was grateful for since it’s that fucking good to begin with.

All in all, it was more of a Jesus Christ Superstar concert vs. a musical play, but like I said before, that’s fine with me. Hearing Ted Neely and Cory Glover rip through all those great tunes is plenty enough rocking for me. If the show passes through your town don’t miss it.


At 6:32 PM, March 07, 2008, Blogger Dave Cavalier said...

What was Obama doing in your neck of the woods?

At 2:52 PM, March 08, 2008, Blogger Bobby said...

So there he was on a water-bed
Drinking a cola of a mystery brand
Reading an airport novelette, listening to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Requiem"
He said, before it had really begun, "I prefer the one about my son"

"God's Comic" -Elvis Costello

At 6:28 PM, March 09, 2008, Blogger Ashley said...

The dozen or so people I know who've seen JCS span the broad spectrum of practicing Christian. One's a confirmed agnostic while at least three others wear their faith on their sleeve.

Every single one said they loved it.

I really should try to see it...

At 2:21 PM, March 10, 2008, Anonymous Busbee said...

What's the Buzz tell me what's happenin', What's the Buzz, tell me what's happenin, What's the Buzz tell me what's happenin, What's the Buzz tell me what' happenin.

Great, great musical even for us ex-EC(Easter, Christmas) Catholics.

How about Godspell? Another great show with strong music. My young'n had to learn All For The Best for her stage class so we rented the movie, which is just OK. The most hilarious thing was watching the men sing to other men characters. You just had the feeling they couldn't wait for the take to be over so that they could go do each other in the trailer.

At 10:24 PM, March 15, 2008, Blogger Jackson said...

Love the record, sadly, or not, I've never seen it done......BUT

A year ago I was working in Wilmington Delaware for a few days. One night, as our tired but feverently alcoholic crew assembled at the lobby bar, in came the cast and crew of the touring Jesus Christ Superstar production that you saw. Alas Mr. Neely and Mr. Glover were not in attendance, but I had a great time taking the piss out these folks, who as we know, I actually envy. I was aghast to find out Ted was still doing Jesus, I mean, Jesus died young, y'know? I remember saying to one of these theater types:

"Suspension of disbelief? Shit that's just an excuse you whip out when your show sucks."

I was on that night.

Coincidently, at that same lobby bar on a different evening some dude tried to tell me Ringo was way better than Charlie.

That guy will never be the same.

I was on that whole week.


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