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Great Performances: Jesus Christ Superstar.

Great Performances: Jesus Christ Superstar. Clearly an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one.

Now, don’t you get me wrong — I think that JCS is a wonderful show, but one that came from a specific historical period and is less effective in a contemporary setting. Watching this new version full of homoerotic rejects from Rent was almost as painful as listening to the square, lifeless singing. I’m all for colorblind casting (in this case, filling the traditionally black role of Judas with a white man), but did they have to pick a paunchy, balding cross between Phil Collins and Sting? For all its tank tops and leather jackets, this JCS was a definitely not cool. But at least it wasn’t as bad as the tour I saw a few years ago featuring a huge inflatable Jesus and a cruxifiction scene set in a Nazi-death camp where Christ literally flew off of the cross into the heavens at the end of the show.

What happened to the days when PBS literally showed “Great Performances” like Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Passion, or even Into the Woods? Now it’s just hackneyed versions of Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and endless Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute concerts.

2 responses so far (Respond)

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Amen. I remember when GP was great. *sigh* Even their borderline stuff (like Opera Imaginaire) was fabulous. Petition, anyone?

Vis10n | 13 Apr 2001
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I blame all of this on the success of Riverdance. Once PBS realized that people will contribute if you play Riverdance several times during pledge month, they started overdoing it.

Now, I don’t mind seeing ALW shows on PBS now and then. But like you, I wish it were more even. What about filming, I dunno, Parade, Violet, Floyd Collins, Marie Christine, one or both of the Wild Partys?

Why not air the Encores shows? Or little cabaret performances? Is it really that extraordinarily expensive?

Bill | 13 Apr 2001