Your independent guide to the best shows in San Francisco
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Get your tickets NOW - 'cuz once the word gets out, you won't find any available anywhere; yes, it's THAT good!! Powerful message with equally powerful music performed by a cast of near-perfect voices in combination with a wonderful set that puts the muscians on top of the action. They all amaze - and soothe every want with respect to matching your memories of the magnificent score with your need to experience those words performed by a cast with great unison in dance and movement while singing this dramatic story. I GUARANTEE that you will experience huge applause - and the absolute and overwhelming stillness associated with near-perfect performances. Go to a play this year - and make sure it is this one...and you will be forever a fan of both the art form and this particular presentation.
Bob Gookin from Los Angeles, California
THE SUPERSTAR WE NEED RIGHT NOW
I was in fifth grade when I got the album from the Columbia Record Club. My mom let me stay home from school the next day and I played it non-stop, and kept playing it, over and over, eventually wearing it out.
I'm not particularly religious, but I was drawn to the politics of Jesus's struggle against the powers that be on behalf of the poor and downtrodden.
The new iteration captures this beautifully, updating the story with a high energy modern vibe that kept everything I loved about the album, but made it infinitely more accessible to my teenage daughters.
The vocals were very solid - led, of course, by Judas. But Jesus had some wonderful moments, Mary Magdalene was perfect and Caiaphas was stunning.
The band was wonderful, the opening guitar riff brought down the house, and the dancers were mesmerizing. Honestly can't think of a time that a dancer brought me to tears, but the lead dancer in this production did just that.
Great play, great performance, great night.
Kevin Woodman from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
FLASHBACK IN REAL TIME
Captivating from the opening note to the final bow. One of my favourite alt albums from the seventies and this cast didn't disappoint. Considering the success of the original production, this was not an easy feat. A well deserved standing ovation.
Ted W. from Denver, Colorado
IMPRESSIVE MIX OF CLASSIC AND MODERN - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
In Denver on business and decided to catch this new production after seeing an intriguing video ad in front of the performing arts center. I couldn't be happier. I had the original record as a kid and wore it out along with other rock operas like 'Tommy', 'Quadrophenia', 'Lamb Lies down on Broadway', etc. This show took me back to my bean bag chair with my headphones on in the '70s- guitars, drums, keyboards, saxophones, and the singers... just great. Pretty fast-paced compared to other shows I've seen recently, but that adds to the energy. These dancers would go from 'hippie' dancing to ballet-esque to whirling dervish within a few songs. The set, lighting, and costumes are all very modern to my eye. I have to think about the symbolism of the glitter and the mic stands and cords, but I'm very glad I decided to go. Highly recommended, especially if you grew up listening to the album!
Jon Workers from Denver, Colorado
A fabulous show from start to finish. The excellent live music set the mood and was true to the original score and album. The musicians were as much a star as the actors. I thought Judas was even better than Jesus (only on stage not in legend) and Caiaphas with his deep, deep voice reverberated right under your skin. The Ensemble danced and sang with energy, yet it sounded like a choir of 50 singers in unison. The solos by Jesus and Mary were superb, but the scene not to miss is the 39 lashes ministered to Jesus by the crowd and intensified by the painful crack-snap of the sound effects.
Some nay-sayers have commented on the use of microphones on stage and the guitar wielding Jesus . I found that this interpretation in no way demeaned the story or acting. Give into suspending your disbelief and you will leave having seen a wonderful show. Take your Mother, or your teenage kids. Your'll have something all will talk about on the ride home. Enjoy!
Walker from Denver, Colorado
TIMELESS AND POWERFUL
Did not disappoint! Amazing music and talented performers. Wish I could see it again. The Denver show was excellent. The show went too fast. Loved every minute, every song and the modern take on this classic show.
Elaine from Denver, Colorado
It was a great way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, with today's aesthetic mixed with the iconic musical score. Like the original play, this is a modern rendering of the Christ story. The costumes, lighting, and dancing (like the original play) are intentionally drawn from the present. In this case, "urban hipster vibe" was used for the modern aesthetic instead of "1970s hippie vibe" from the original. Evidently some of the other commentors herein, who've shared less than favorable reviews, appear to have been put-off by the contemporary aesthetic (okay I'll admit the man bun wasn't my favorite). But that to me, is and was the point. We aren't viewing this as ancient times, or even more recent history, but through the lens of today. The music, the outstanding performances and signing, and the choreography were all exceptional and true to the original.
Eric Powell from Baltimore, Maryland
WE LOVED THIS!
What a great time my family had last night. This show created such an emotional environment and sparked priceless family discussion. The performers were so talented, Jesus, Judas and Mary were flawless, and the music was so powerful, I have to say the guitarist and drummer we’re memorable. 5 stars for your powerful rendition of this show.
Christopher from Minneapolis, Minnesota
INCREDIBLE! 50TH ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION
Just saw the show last night at the Minneapolis Wow, I love theater and this show did not disappoint. My whole family felt the same as I. The sets, stage and lighting created the best environment to enjoy the story. The music was very powerful as was the voices of the actors. Thank you for this 90 minute adventure we will never forget.
Charles P from Rochester, New York
GREAT SHOW, GREAT MUSIC, GREAT TIME.
I needed this. What a thrill to see this musical, powerful performances on stage, the actors were so full of energy, I bounced in my seat to the songs. The band was tight, and the drums and guitar were channeling some pure rock and roll. Incredible!
Joseph Lear from Rochester, New York
Saw the show in Hartford CT. Beautiful set and a fiery young cast danced and sang so well. The music was very moving as well. I would recommend this 90 minute rendition to families and friends.
Andy Sadlon from Hartford, Connecticut
PERFECT FOR THE TIMES
Wonderful show. They’ve made the stage and choreography contemporary but stayed true to the original music. The actors and actresses were wonderful musicians, singers and dancers. This might be the best JCS I’ve seen and I’ve seen a lot!
Norma from Cleveland, Ohio
The music, the set , the performances - The Cleveland Orchestra! Beyond words!
Pat from Kansas City, Missouri
IT WAS FANTASTIC
I really wanted to see this Show so I traveled to Nashville in March 2020 to see it. It was fantastic! I was thrilled to see that it was scheduled for Kansas City. I hope that the Cast comes back for it because Aaron and James are phenomenal.
I became a big fan of James after he performed at the Kauffman Center in the tribute show to Michael Jackson.
Evan Franks from Portland, OR
JESUS IS BACK, BABY!
I just saw the reopening in Portland 09/28/21. It was so amazing and emotional to be at such an incredible performance after a year and a half of no live theater. The choreography, the sining, the music, the lighting... all of it was amazing. I'm going to try to see it again, lol. Highly recommended!
DMR from San Francisco, California
Absolutely brilliant performance of JCS! The acting, dancing, singing, band, set were all fabulous! I have been listening to JSC since 1971 and this is my first time seeing it on stage. I'm going to go again! Thank you to all of you for making this production so enjoyable. Keep going!!!
Mike from San Francisco, California
BEST VERSION AND CAST
Saw the show three times and every time was perfect. Every cast member on there is so talented.
Lisa Dion from Boston, Massachusetts
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Amazing, 50th anniversary... I tapped my foot, sang under my breath the whole time... if I could have got up and danced I would have... such a great story, show. Music... I teared up, because this has been my favorite music and show since I was a teenager... Thank you Boston Cast.
Margaret Rogers from Washington, District of Columbia
BRILLIANT! STUNNING! A MUST SEE FOR LOVERS OF MUSICALS, WEBBER, PAST PERFORMANCES.
Got home a couple of hours ago after seeing this at Ken Cen Feb 24, 2022. Anyone who loved this in this past from early 1970s when first appeared and any one too young to have seen those past performances but love theater should see! I found it breathtakingly fantastic! In the 70s and 80s I think I listened to the soundtracks 5000 times - maybe only 500 - but I loved the music/lyrics and voices that much! I found the current performance at KenCen brilliant. The leads had stunning voices, even better than those I remember from the past. I am buying my 2nd ticket before it leaves KenCen to again enjoy this overwhelmingly extraordinary performance & voices!
from Kansas City, Missouri
JESUS CHRIST SUPER...PHENOMENAL!!!
Still can't sleep!!! Show was so AMAZING! Still can't get this "Show" off my mind! Lucky enough to go opening night!!! WOW!!!
Rachel Deering from Dallas, Texas
FABULOUS REVIVAL OF A MASTERPIECE!
I LOVED IT! Might as a well say, first and foremost, if you cannot open your mind to embrace Jesus with a modern-day hairstyle and original bold artistic ideas mixed with a classic, then don’t go! The music, orchestra, choreography, costumes and cast were all top notch in my opinion. They didn’t mess with the music - it was exactly as I remembered listening to all those songs over and over until I knew all the words by heart. That is primarily what this show is - music! No talking. With a fresh approach, 50 years later. This 60 year old absolutely loved it!!!!
Daniel Stewart from Dallas, Texas
BEATS ALL OTHERS I’VE SEEN
I’ve seen JCS performances in four countries and a few productions on Broadway.
I was left stunned by this performance. From start to finish, this ensemble brought an energy to every moment end-to-end. I truly mean stunning.
By bringing the basics back to the show, and with some very unique ways of using glitter, they told the story in a meaningful way. It is also the first time I’ve seen a man playing a portion of Mary’s role for the forehead of the Jesus character. There were a few subtle and not so subtle twists placed perfectly, once again bringing this performance to a modern day element without alienating modern day racism, bigotry or homophobia.
I landed at DFW and goggled “Dallas tonight” and this show popped up. Grabbed a single ticket on Ticketmaster in the 5th row center orch and went on an unexpected journey. The theatre itself was very nice and comfortable and Dallas should be proud of what they have for their residents and visitors.
I leave Dallas Wednesday and have two shows on Broadway to attend in NYC this week. I’m glad that Dallas set the bar. Well done and I thank the cast of this show for brightening my stay in this city. You’re dynamite.
Marc Nicholson from Atlanta Geoirga
I enjoyed this show A LOT! The songs are a part of my soul and you could feel the joy of others that this music has touched. I thought the choreography was brilliant. Form many of the reviews there are some grumpy out there. This music was the only way I understood the story of the Bible. The mikes were weird and I love the horror of the audience in the man bun. The voices were great and the music supernatural. I liked the voices better than the album and I have listened to this music 179.785 times and may listen tonight for the second time. I came to the computer to see if I could buy this version. There was a lot more good than bad. No-one in the world hates a man bun more than me and I overlook it because I love this music with my heart. I think you should go and enjoy it as I did.
Patricia Morris from Atlanta, Georgia
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR GLITTERS AT THE FABULOUS FOX
Coming from Community Theater, I know some-very-small-something about pulling off an extravaganza. The director/stage manager/tech/orchestra/actors/choreographer must jive on a level that memorizes an audience. This show is excellent on all fronts. Clever ideas with the mics...there is even a 'drop mic' moment...and the Pharisees scepter/mic combo...genius! When you have actors that go from a ballad to a rock star screech, one must only imagine the time involved with the vocal coach. Gethsemane was the best scene I have ever witnessed in my many previous show experiences. The glittering of Jesus during '39' was above imaginative and spoke to what the audience needed at this point...personally I felt that as a Christian I had some vindication at this Kingly gesture. JCSS was Just positively brilliant from start to finish. Standing OVATION to ALL of you!
Jimmy Atkinson from Las Vegas, Nevada
THIS JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT SOCIETY
People’s need to link a person to a higher power. Wow this show’s portrait of Jesus is powerful. The music was powerful. I missed some of the words but I feel they were creating an environment for the audience to feel swept up in. It felt like a 90 minute roller coaster ride. The ending is haunting.
M. Morris from Denver, Colorado
JUST WANTED TO RECOMMEND TO FAMILIES
I really enjoyed this production. The music has always been a favorite of mine ever since I was a kid. Having studied religion in my youth and now having the wisdom of age I was again moved to experience compassion. This modern version is clever but the message is still the same. I liked the stage setting and seeing and hearing the music being performed. The performers were so talented. I hope others feel as I do, and by the reaction of last nights performance and the standing ovation...well I think so. With all the negativity in this world I have to say that I walked away feeling I treated myself to something special. Thank you to all those involved.
Tom McCollum from Denver but live in NC
Saw it in Denver on 29 November and really loved it. This was the first time I saw it though listened to the album years ago over and over.
I thought the performers of Judas and Mary stole the show. What powerful voices with crystal clear range, and I haven’t even mentioned the passion they put into their parts.
I would encourage folks to see it but you have to have an open mind. This is not a typical rendition of the last days of Christ but still just as powerful nonetheless.
Barb from Detroit, Michigan
GOOD PLUS BUT NOT GREAT.
Either the mixing was uneven or Jesus and Judas needed to be more emotional. Mary and Harrod were great. Choreography was definitely worth it.
Shaunn Day from Rochester, New York
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR IN ROCHESTER
I see in other reviews about Jesus and Pilot with guitars Yes I don't think it was needed. I did like the drop of the mic and the flogging part. I have seen JCS with Ted Neely but this does not compare. I did love the vocals .
I'm glad I did go see it
Laurie Rejzer from Portland, Oregon
SO CLOSE TO EXCEPTIONAL!
Just saw Superstar last night at the Keller. This show has some amazing moments that highlight near perfect vocals & dynamic (but at times distracting) choreography all riding on a rock foundation from a stellar band. I had 2 main issues: 1. While the vocals were pitch perfect. I missed the passion, intensity, and raw rock emotion. “Get out, they’re waiting!” “Alright! I’ll die! See how I die!” “…You have made it a den of thrives! Get out!” This Jesus just sings the notes.. There is no real rock intensity. And Judas feels much the same.. glorious vocals, but it’s too clean, too pretty for a man so tortured. Where’s the fire? The chaos in his vocals? Two words: Murray Head.
2. The whole show was rushed. There were no pauses for us to let a song simmer.. ends of phrases were often cut short, or barely spoken (pilate’s dream). the overture was rushed, just felt very hurried.
Caiaphas was the best I’ve ever seen. Look, Voice, presence.
Loved the Judas/Jesus sit down to close the show.
JKFC from San Francisco, California
AN ENTERTAINING EVENING
Iv'e seen 3 professional productions of JCS in my lifetime: One that blew me away, one that was a joke, and this tour which I'd say is in the middle. The quality of the voices and the orchestration is exceptional. The ensemble danced their butt off! Mary was solid, Judas was a bit too one note (very intense but what a voice!), but Jesus was aloof and did not seem connected (except for his last song, which he nailed!). The rest of the cast was great. It was staged on a unit set depicting a dilapidated. multi-level, steel-beam building that "just happened" to have a section broken off in the shape of a cross. Direction wise, it missed cohesiveness and there were some really strange glitter choices and way too many "trying to be clever" microphone moments, but overall the music and the spirit of the songs was there and if you grew up listening to this rock opera, you will find yourself bopping to awesome grooves. I'm happy I saw it, now someone please help get the songs out my head!
Therese Brannon from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Saw this show in Milwaukee. The new Judas, understudy(?) Was intense and brilliant. Jesus actor started slow but got powerful midway through. The dancers were incredible as were the
High priests. Live shows such as this are difficult keeping momentum. But this was thoroughly enjoyable. The bad reviews are perplexing. Mary was a tiny presence with a good strong voice. Judas and priests and herod as well( absolutely) pilot were terrific.
Carolyn from Las Vegas, Nevada
This is my 5th show. This and the recent TV version were by far the worst. Costuming, presentation and singing were subpar. The instrumental music saved the show. None can compete with the version I saw 50 years ago.
Buddy from Nashville, Tennessee
JUST NOT THE SAME
I have high expectations for this Rock Opera. Having seen Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson several times on tour, one just always will have that 'similar' feel; however, realizing there is no comparison to those icons - - but can you at least try to come close?
Folks this is supposed to be of Broadway caliber. Broadway, I’ll say it one more time - Broadway…. Big shoes, big expectations. Sorry this review is harsh –
First the orchestra was simply - perfection - the music was EXACTLY as the original, never missing a note or beat. Can't quite say the same for the play itself.
I realize this ensemble is trying to bring a freshness and modern feel, but why? Why does Jesus have a top knot? Why is he playing the guitar during Gethsemane? It was so distracting and completely took away from what is one of the most powerful, stunning, beautiful and emotional songs of the play. Give the actor the ability to act, not perform.
And what of these 'moves' by Caiaphas, Annas and the priests? It looked like a slow death while pole dancing their staffs. (no pun intended)
Finally, for the not so good. The actor playing Pilate...? whaaa?? I am hoping the actual Pilate was sick and this was his understudy. He was nervous maybe. Very meek, almost just read the words and didn’t really sing. Again, Pilates dream, another powerful, mesmerizing songs. Just left as a dry twig in the dust. No one cared, no one got the emotion.
There were glimmers of some real good stuff from Jesus and Judas. Once or twice they each had incredible moments in vocals. The audience immediately woke and started to sing in awe. But then it just went away. Left us all in a downward spiral, left hanging. It was a tease, a sample of what they could really do….and it never came back.
The actress Mary Magdalene: beautiful performances; Caiaphas and Annas, superb vocals. Caiaphas, that low growling voice, countered by Annas high pitch - nice. Finally, the Judas hanging?? Can you at least pretend to hang something? Not just dangle an empty rope? And the glitter on Jesus while he was being flogged.... still don’t get that one.
It's not all bad, if you love this classic Rock Opera, it's entertaining. Be prepared for less excitement, average choreography, and an awkward crucifixion and just as awkward curtain call. I looked forward to this night all week, and I just left empty, kinda jipped, as did a lot of folks in listening to the disappointment while leaving the theater.
However, The orchestra alone is worth the price of the ticket, Bravo!
Jessica Allen from Seattle, Washington
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
Unfortunately, something seemed to be off with the speakers or microphones... I could not understand 90% of what anyone was saying... It had a great melody, and the choreography was great, but it lost a lot of its luster by not being able to understand them. I have never seen this show before, so I didnt know the songs or words. I just really wish I would have been able to understand them.
Mauricio Perez from Seattle, Washington
FANTASTIC PLAY, LEADING ACTORS JUST SING, BUT DON'T ACT
Splendid singer who don't act on the leading roles make me rate the play with 3 stars only. This is not a recital, but a rock opera, songs should be performed and this was missing. Perhaps Judas defended himself on this aspect by the end of the play. The poor histrionics of Mary Magdalene and Jesus made two of the most important numbers lackluster: I Don't Know How to Love Him was sung with a beautiful voice but no feelings whatsoever. The same with the most dramatic aria of the play: Gethsemani. It was a bad idea to make Jesus play his own guitar while singing this piece, especially for a singer who doesn't act, the guitar hanging from his neck made it impossible to make of it as dramatic as it should be. Ingenious scourging and moving and beautiful crucifixion. 5 stars to the stage, the illumination, the choreography, the adaptation of the Sanhedrin numbers and to Tommy Sherlock (Pilate). I would watch it again for sure.
Alyce HOGE from San Francisco, California
Found it very interesting but did not understand the end. The choreography was weird and distracting. Didn’t like Jesus with a man-bun nor the athleisure wear costumes - hoodies and workout clothes. Use of glitter for the flogging was also weird. Left disappointed.
Conad from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
SEND IN REPLACEMENT JUDAS !
Lead Judas actor got nabbed for trying to overthrow the government (U.S. not Roman Empire - what would Pontius Pilate have done with him ?)
MSMartinez from Boston, Massachusetts
Three of us attended, all expecting to love the show; sadly, we did not. Music was good. Dancing was great. But the storytelling left something to be desired. It was choppy, with key plot lines depicted vaguely. (We know the story of Christ very well. If we were lost at certain points, I can't imagine how someone who doesn't know the story could ever follow along!) Unfortunately, the band drowned out much of the lyrics. We had great seats (dress circle, center, row A), so there's no reason we should not have heard every word. Vocals were muffled by an overabundance of bass, which also impacted the storytelling. The set design was fabulous--could not have been better. The show itself could have been, however. Glad we went. Just wish we enjoyed it more.
Sister Clara Mae from Cleveland, Ohio
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
I was invited so I only paid to park to witness this play. I saw the play in 1973 with Ted Neeley. Jesus, Mary and others were not stated performers. No notice of this in program. This play mocks its title. Jesus is rarely standing up and I did not know he played guitar. Silver glitter now is blood when you whip someone and Hered could be mistaken for Beetlejuice or the Joker. I was told he sang, all I heard was screaming. I believe the dancing was more prized than acting and singing overall. At the end this play says Jesus you are dead. I guest this story was a sad funeral then. I miss you Ted Neeley! The 3 stars are for the orchestra performance. They were 5 stars!! This was a magnificent staging and first class but Jesus was not the star of this play but mocked and played as weak and pathetic. The actor sounded like a squealing pig when he screamed in the garden scene. On the cross, direction was to whine like a baby loudly and whisper his lines. PS Mary sat with Jesus last supper.
John Christie MD from Annapolis, MD
HIGHS AND LOWS
Wife’s favourite show. Some superb voices. Some superb music.
Jesus wandering around with a guitar, odd at times. Dancers scurrying about at times.
DO NOT see this show without earplugs - it’s cruelly punishingly loud.
NO intermision is cruel for older patrons.
Trina Newnam from Dallas, Texas
SONGS BUT NO STORY
They sang all the songs but didn't tell the story. If you had not already seen the play somewhere else, you would not know what was happening or why. Very hard to hear Judas for both myself and my granddaughter. She said she didn't get any of his words. Dancing was great, stage again great. I didn't care for the ending, just sat there?
Melissa W. from DFW, Texas
HAND MICS RESTRICT ACTORS' PERFORMANCES; KUDOS TO PERFORMERS.
I attended the perforance at Fair Park in Dallas on April 16, 2022. I love JCS - like many who "grew up" with the album and/or the movie, the rock opera is part of my life's soundtrack.
So, I had a lot of hope when a friend invited me to see the "reimagined" JCS at Fair Park in Dallas on April 16, 2022. I am a Christian, and this was the third professional performance of JCS that I have attended, the first two with Ted Neely serving in the JCS role that is so familiar to many.
This is not easy for me to say, but the three-star rating for the performance that I saw in Dallas is rather generous. Sadly, the questionable production choices left me more distracted than enamoured.
At the performance that I attended, everyone except Peter (I believe) used a HAND MIC. A HAND mic! Wait - isn't this Dallas BROADWAY?! The key characters carried their hand mics and/or mic stands about on stage throughout the performance As a consequence of this production's non-hands-free audio direction, the "acting" by any of the primary characters was SERIOUSLY compromised and stifled. The cast even shared mics, with the exception of "Peter," who did not appear to be using a hand mic (scratching my head). And "Jesus's" mic "crapped out" 2-3 times. The stage at the Music Hall at Fair Park is not a particularly large stage. With one exception (the cross on which "Jesus" is crucified), the show's set is not dynamic and there are no scene changes, and for these reasons, the performers really needed an opportunity to move in more expressive ways.
Clearly, the cast was well-experienced and very talented-just read the program. But while holding his mic in his hand, Aaron LaVigne as "Jesus" seemed to be meandering and lost and without a lot of expression or heart--more like a high school production--until the crucifixion (when he did not have a hand mic because, well, his character was being crucified-his hands were not available!). And "Jesus" spent an inordinate amount of time putting on a guitar, taking it off, putting it on, taking it off, leaving us wondering whether it was just an odd prop - and it was - or whether he was going to use it. EVENTUALLY (mid-show) "Jesus" played guitar in a background role at one point and later performed a song while playing the guitar and singing into a mic on a mic stand. Hmmmm.
LaVigne is definitely talented, but I would have loved to have seen him "firing all cylinders" in his role--especially in the first third of the show. I think the fact that he was "handcuffed" to a hand mic throughout 98% of his performance--not his fault--really quashed his ability to "shine." Even the character of "Jesus" needs to be theatrical, and by that I do not mean that he has to perform like he is in "The Music Man," but rather that even "Jesus's" encounters with others could have been more expressive without a hand mic.
In my view, the only mic-in-hand performance that rose to a Broadway-level of excellence was that of Paul Louis Lessard as "King Herod." Lessard's performance was captivating, invigorating, and exuberant! Yes, Herod's song is high-octane, but many of the other performances would have benefited if they had been executed with Lessard's spunk and punch.
Now, lest you say, "Maybe they were dealing with an audio issue," two facts lead me to discredit that theory. First, "Peter" did not use a hand mic and "Jesus" did not use one while he was being crucified. Moreover, the ensemble used mics on micstands that bore lighted crosses, so the use of mic stands appears to have been "by design."
The choreography was quite "in unison," which rendered it high-schoolish and lackluster, but the performers (ensemble and other characters) executed their vocal and movement art with exceedingly high precision. Very nicely done, Team JCS -- kudos!
To be fair, I have not seen any other productions of the the "reimagined" JCS, so if all companies are following a singular production directive, my criticism spreads as broadly. However, in my somewhat lengthly life to date, I have seen dozens of Broadway (NYC) and touring performances, and I have NEVER seen something like the hand-mic conundrum of this production. It was exceedingly distracting, and my friend who also attended had the same complaints.
I surmise that the truly odd audio-related direction (i.e., no head mics) for this performance likely arose from a budgeting issue that did not allow for proper Broadway-level audio equipment. That is not the performers' fault or issue. To be clear, except for the "Jesus" mic glitches, the audio was well-engineered.
And, in all fairness, there were definite positives during the performance in spite of the audio-input (i.e., hand mic) distractions. 1. An excellent live band (although I did not love some of the synth substitutions, and their placement on set was also distracting). 2. Great talent - the cast and ensemble as a whole earn five stars, with gold "super" stars (sorry-just had to) going to Omar Lopez-Cepero ("Judas"), Jenna Rubaii ("Mary"), Alvin Crawford ("Caiaphas"), and Tommy Sherlock ("Pilate"). Again, had all of the performers been unleased from their hand-mic "handcuffs," we could have enjoyed so much more of their obvious talents.
The saving graces for this production are the JCS music and lyrics of Rice/Webber, which will carry any performance of JCS as long as the musical performers have skills. Indeed, I would be willing to pay and listen to talented people seated on barstools in front of mics on mic stands, you know, just LISTEN to the music and performances -- but that is not what we paid for in this instance.
In a nutshell, the production of the show was more Dallas and less Broadway, but that criticism does not extend to the cast of performers. Still JCS is a great show, and I would recommend any newcomer to JCS to see it at least once. And my criticism of the performance I saw will not deter me from seeing it again.
from Los Angeles, California
MISSED THE MARK
I have seen this show 5 times in 50 years. I love the music. The cast did not connect to the music or the audience. While I applaud the attempt to be different, it was a big fail, especially for a 50th anniversary revival. The lead selling his music in his bio was tacky. Don’t waste your time.
Ron Glickman from Los Angeles, California
BUMMER IT SUCKED
I have seen the show many times over the last 50 years. This was horrible. The cast did not connect to the music or the audience. The sound was terrible. Jesus walked around with with a guitar - mostly picked it up and put it down for no apparent reason - it was distracting. The glitter made no sense. I expected way more, especially on the 50 year anniversary of an amazing show. That the lead pitched his music in his bio was tacky. Don’t wast your time or money.
Robert clark from Los Angeles, California
my wife is a huge fan of this show and has seen it previously in many forms...i splashed out and purchased front row seats , at Pantages, to surprise her for her birthday
Jesus, with a "man bun" was terrible......seemed bored ( as we were with his performance) and never quite sure of the significance of the guitar ...lacking in personality, only an adequate singing voice and easily the worst male lead i have seen in a musical ever
Dancers and choreography basically saved the show......microphones with cords ?, terrible sound quality could go on and on but if you haven't bought tickets yet then save your money
I generally love musicals but not this production
Coach Owens from Baltimore, Maryland
JCS MISSES THE MARK!
Hi everyone! Well after 50 years of this great musical last night was the pits!
Simply put, the band was great minus the guitar playing Jesus and Pilate. The use of hand held microphones was "Bush League" and definitly a distraction. Jesus' voice was all over the place! Judas was just a little better. Ted Neely and Carl Anderson are rolling in their graves. Mary was okay, but ive heard better. Believe it or not I did like the Choreography. It was diferent, fresh approach. The chorus, background signers were awesome!
Caiphas and priests saved the scenes. Finally, I know it was opening night, but the show started 12 minutes late!!!!!!!! I totally missed the first ten minutes because I had to go to the mens room and got locked out!!!!!
Next time, I'll bring a portable unrinal !!!!!!!!
PS: The two stars are for the music!
John Decker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
BIZZARE CHOICES, UNEVEN DIRECTION, WEAK JUDAS
Sometimes revivals say something new and interesting. Sometimes they transport you back in time. This did neither. Half the ensemble and cast seemed to be working with frenetic energy, and half seemed to just want the thing over with. Unfortunately, each type seemed to be randomly distributed, which was confusing. Judas emotes with all the believablity of Family Feud Steve Harvey, as played by Kenan Thompson on SNL. He was a bit all over the place vocally. If you know the show, you know that for it to work, Judas has to put the entire production on his back and carry it. Jesus was pretty good, Mary was there, Ultra-Intense-Dancer-Girl needed to be in a better, or at least different musical. The costumes were weak, the lighting design was lazy. Glitter-whipping a naked ravaged Jesus was fun, but a bit like being inside Mike Pence's darkest fantasy. Nobody understood why the moneychangers in the temple were dancing around with lighted crosses.
Jillian from Minneapolis, Minnesota
DISAPPOINTING ATTEMPT AT "MODERNIZING" JCS
JCS is my FAVORITE show. I have seen many amazing productions. This was not one. Jesus in a hoodie & man-bun was not convincing and seemed almost a lazy portrayal. Why did he keep picking up the guitar only to put it down again...random and confusing. Mary grew on me, as did Pilot.
Herod was a disappointment though. If anything could have turned up the volume and energy it would have been Herod's Court. But even that was flat and almost felt like a Goth interpretation. One-dimensional and a grey one at that.
One choice I really liked was the Priests. When they flipped their staffs to become mic stands I grinned! That was a flash of brilliance!
My last comment is on the glitter lashing. Felt like a cop out... That scene is SUPPOSED to be raw and disturbing. Splashing the actor with glitter is NOT the way to portray that event.
Until next time...
Anonymous from Marshall, Minnesota
Though the music and choreography we're wonderful, I found this production to be extremely disappointing. We were seated on the main floor of the theater. Their were four of us who attended the play together. The first comment that each of had was "I couldn't understand/hear the lyrics".
Being from outstate MN, I paid for dinner and and an overnight hotel stay just to attend a very disappointing production. It will be a long while before I choose to spend my money to attend an Orpheum production.
Pete from Boston, Massachusetts
Very disappointed. For a world tour Broadway 50th Anniversary production, I would of thought it would of been better. The orchestra was good except for a few timing issues with the percussionist. Jesus with a guitar and hand held microphones took away from the connection between actors. I’d have to say I’ve seen better acting at small community theater productions of this amazing rock opera. .
Lori from Washington, District of Columbia
I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND ANYONE.
I was very excited to see this show. I love musicals, but I had never seen JCS before. The production looked intriguing in the commercials so I decided to give it a try. I don't know if it was the way the audio was mixed or what, but I could not understand anything that was being sung unless the person was singing all by themselves. The man playing Pilate helpfully over enunciated everything so I could understand him. Also, Jesus didn't seem to know where he was going or what he was supposed to be doing when he got there. I just didn't feel any emotional connection to any of the characters, and I don't think they felt anything toward each other. Their voices were beautiful, but I couldn't make out the words. I wish that I had listened to the music before hand so that I would know what they were saying. It was also too fast paced. I feel like that lent to the not being able to form any connection. I wanted to love it, but I just didn't know how. Save your money.
Jeffrey Smith from Arlington, Virginia
A CONCERT, NOT AN OPERA
This particular incarnation is a concert and not an opera or musical. Operas and musicals involve not only singing but also acting , and they endeavor to dramatize a story rather than just presenting song after song. If you're OK with attending a concert of oldies, you might enjoy the show. But I expected more. The lack of acting was frustrating; were the actors supposed to be portraying characters? Were they actually even actors, or were they just singers? I wasn't impressed by the choreography - continuous frenetic dancing doesn't express a whole lot. Certainly a poor substitute for having actors actually play roles. The costumes got more and more ridiculous as the show went on - King Herod as a drag queen??? Did the costume designer view the program as a comedy? I left before the show was over.
Barbara from Washington, District of Columbia
KNOW THE STORY?
I hope so because otherwise it will be hard to follow. The dancing was great, the band was great, but the lyrics were often lost. It was difficult to identify the characters at times. In over 50 years of theater going, mostly on Broadway, this ranked in the bottom three of hundreds seen. The original was much better.
Matt Cirillo from Atlanta, Georgia
Let's start with the drums - It sounded like a fan who knows all the songs but isn't a drummer filled in for the real drummer, so only the parts with no drums allowed the rest of the musicians to "groove." I am enamored with the original soundtrack, so was disappointed with the liberties taken my all the singers except the Mary Magdelene and Herod roles, which were superb. Did not like the drab costumes. The rear-loge at the Fox Theater has horrible acoustics which did not help. Still it was nice to see a bunch of people performing this rock opera with passion, even if it was not to my taste.
Jenn from Atlanta, Georgia
LEFT OUT THE RESURRECTION!!
Why did the show’s directors leave Jesus in death? This was so, so disappointing to us! This was the fourth production of JCSS I’ve seen and the only time The Glorified Jesus did not come back in all white and lights to a Super Star reprise. It killed the show.
Lars from Greenville, South Carolina
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR – UNINTELLIGIBLE
Jesus Christ superstar – unintelligible
For most of the characters in the play I could not understand what they were singing. Herod and Pontius Pilot we’re clear and quite good. Jesus, Judas, backup singers etc where garbled. Pay way to much for a play where the singing sounds more like humming.
Post Covid plays see to have decreased in talent as well.
Scorpio10 from San Jose, California
Ever since I first heard the album in 1972, I have been a huge fan of Jesus Christ Superstar. I love the music, and the movie. I have seen and loved many versions of the play. This version that I saw tonight at San Jose Center for Performing Arts was impossible to watch. My seat in the theater was perfect, however the choreography was so chaotic and distracting that I kept staring at the ceiling or the walls so I could enjoy the music. Each time I would chance a glance at the beginning of the next song, some new crazy weird unrelated choreography would be going on again. Awful! Jesus and Pilot playing guitars?? Why? No! The singers had microphones with cords and mike stands. Why? And what was the point of the obscene gestures the priests were making with their mike stands. All the choreography was so uncomfortable. The music was wonderful.
Lyn from San Jose, California
I saw this musical in San Jose on 10/26/19. Prior to purchasing tickets, I looked online to see what the musical was about. It had gotten many rave reviews so I was not expecting such an awful show. The music was just okay. The set, costume, and delivery were all weak. Choreography was terrible. I planned to leave during intermission but there was no intermission so I was stuck till the end. I didn’t enjoy any part of it.
Sarah from Las Vegas, Nevada
WOULD NOT RECOMMEND
First off let me say I love musicals and cannot count how many I’ve seen in my 36 years. I was in show choir, competitive dance and choir. I only mention all of this because I can truly appreciate the arts and theater in particular. This is the worst musical I have seen in my whole life. It was depressing(not in the good self introspectionsort of way), sad and lackluster. I would have left, had there been an intermission. I wanted to ask the very enthusiastic lady next to me what she took or what she was seeing, that I was not. Save your money. Check out les miserables, the book of Mormon or something equally as fantastic. Much love to the performers but sorry for them they are in this production. Waste of 90 minutes of my life and lots of resources...
Wanted it to be good but it wasn’t. from Las Vegas, Nevada
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
HATED IT! Choreography was awful. Costumes awful. Jesus had a man bun! And played guitar as did Pilot. Band was good and part of the set. Cast carried around microphones and the stands??? Just a big mess. One of the worst shows I have seen.
Douglas M. from Johnstown, Pennsylvania
A MASTERCLASS ON "HOW TO KILL AN ICONIC SHOW"
I was first introduced the magic of JCS as a teenager over 40 yrs ago. I've seen it done at many levels, including a revival in London. I even played Pilate in a college production. This version, is by far, the worst interpretation I ever saw--including one set in WWII with a female Jesus. The use of handheld mics, mic stands and guitars was idiotic. How can you transmit emotion to the back row if your hands are constantly holding something? Throwing gold glitter to represent the painful lashes of Jesus? Really? To be successful, you need to show the arc of love/devotion to Jesus by the masses and watch it slowly turn to disillusion and finally betrayal. None of this was ever established. There was no connection between Jesus/Judas or Jesus/Mary. Mary didn't know how to love him? Heck, Mary didn't even seem to know him. The was a directorial failure on an epic scale. Save your money. Stay at home and listen to the soundtrack. Your imagination of the events will surely be better
Julie from Minneapolis, Minnesota
I can’t believe how a play could be butchered like they did to this one. If you knew nothing about the story line before you sat down-then you had no hope whatsoever, trying to figure out what in the world was going on in that theater! The singing was a lot of screaming and screeching and the choreography didn’t make any sense. Why why why??!!...would anyone do this to a wonderful original script?! I have seen the original version-then about 8 years ago-saw another (which was very good!)...but this was horrible ! Don’t waste your time and money. How disappointing.
L.A. Mertens from Buffalo, New York
SUPERSTAR FIZZLED OUT
Save your money! This prosection was bad all the way around. I was looking forward to this ever since I was a child. The 50th anniversary of this iconic show should have amazed and inspired the audience. Instead, the entire show was a disappointment. The sound mixing was bad, Jesus' solo songs were difficult to hear. Many songs sung by the group were off, not singing in unison . I couldn't even understand many of the lyrics. The anti-climatic ending couldn't have come soon enough.
Jenny from Rochester, New York
WORST SHOW EVER
This was simply one of the worst shows I have ever seen. It was a chaotic mess. Jesus wasn’t sure what was going on. He couldn’t decide what to do with that guitar. The dancing was stressful to watch. And the glitter was a hot mess. I was praying to Jesus himself to make this musical end sooner.
Jennifer Foster from Portland, Oregon
WOULD’VE WALKED OUT BUT NO INTERMISSION! HORRIBLE!!!
Worst musical/play I have ever seen! We would have walked out during intermission but the didn’t have one. Maybe they know they will lose a lot of the audience if they have an intermission! No one in our group could understand most of the words!
The intense-strange dancing lady was so off putting… her dancing moves were way too much… so weird and just didn’t work at all! The corded microphones and guitars, with the pauses to get the cords straightened out and the guitar plugged in really ruined the magic of theater keeping the audience engaged in the magical feeling of a great live show! I left feeling like it was a total waste of our time and money. We had front row box seats. Should have saved our money, which is a shame as we were so excited to see the show! So disappointed!!!
Linda from Indianapolis, Indiana
This was probably the worst musical I’ve ever had to endure. I should have joined the folks who were leaving 30 minutes into the show. If you didn’t know the story beforehand you could not have figured out what was going on. The lyrics were destroyed by the screeching that was supposed to pass for singing. The whole thing was very chaotic. Hand held mikes-really!?! Electric cables strung across stage. Guitars that seemed to confuse the actors. Gold glitter representing the whip lashes-horrible! A strange lady who seemed to be convulsing at odd moments throughout the entire play. This was an experience I just want to forget.
Karen McCord Welsh from Indianapolis, indiana
I’ve seen this show 3 times—love it! This version was disappointing. Cast had great voices but not strong enough to make an impact. Costumes were blah and microphones were distracting. Seems they tried to modernize it and it didn’t work.
Anthony from Cleveland’s fabulous Playhouse Square.
1ST TIME AND A DISAPPOINTMENT
Wow! So many things were disappointing. Sound system was horrible, could only catch 1/4 of the lyrics. Jesus character wore a hoodie and a man bun. Really, a hoodie for Jesus? The character didn’t seem to have any gravitas.
Mary had a nice voice but the wardrobe was terrible. I thought she looked liked she had on a genie costume. Looked like the whole cast was in sweats and rehearsal clothing. I could actually see some of the cast dancing in Nikes and Airbirds.
Choreography was horrible.
Debbie Thiry from Cleveland, Ohio
MISSED THE MARK ON THIS JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
I saw this play many years ago in Cleveland and it was moving and emotional. This version was too caberet ish and modern. Did not know who some of the actors were portraying. Very disappointed in the interpretation of this story line.
MIKE HIGGINS from Washington, District of Columbia
Saw this in New York in 1973. Loved it. This "modern/updated version" was terrible. The dancing and costumes were ridiculous and the music was butchered. The producers and director should be banned for life. What a travesty!
Dee Curci from Fort Myers, Florida
UNINSPIRING - BEYOND DISAPPOINTING
How this production could get 5 star ratings is beyond me. Screaming does not constitute “singing”. We did not come to see a “Rock Concert” trying to imitate a Rock Opera that the original works of Andrew LLoyd Webber produced. We have seen the original and one other “reproduction of the original” Each reproduction further diminishes the intent to inspire a deeper understanding and honoring of what the God/Man, Jesus Christ came to bring to all humanity by His suffering and death.
Scott from Dallas, Texas
WORST MUSICAL I’VE EVER SEEN!!!!!!
I took my wife and two kids. We are a theater family. My daughter is heading off to college to major in theater. We have been musical season ticket holders for years. Jesus Christ Superstar was not only the worst musical we’ve ever seen but it was the worst production we have ever endured at any level. I genuinely felt sorry for the cast. The only bright spot of the entire evening was when we realized that it was the curtain call and not intermission but we could not get to our car fast enough and we were howling laughing the entire way home about just how horrific it was. I hope that all of the cast members can finish up their obligation to the production as quickly as possible and get as far away from it as humanly possible. This production is beyond atrocious!
Xavier from Dallas, Texas
This review is limited to 1000 characters. With that limitation it is impossible for me to express just how horrible this production is and how massively disappointing the entire experience was. I would need 10,000 characters at least! Do not go! Stay at home! It is so bad that I felt embarrassed for the cast and even felt sorry for them.
Elaine from Atlanta, Georgia
This play was a waste of my time. I did not understand what they were singing about most of the time. I was so bored that I almost walked out of the play.
33yroldfemaleChristian from Atlanta, Georgia
I had very high expectations. The play was uninspiring and boring. The music and costumes were distracting. The Jesus with a high mohawk pony tail...WHY! The gospel of JESUS is powerful, but this performance was dark and sad. I hated every second of it and would have left before it ended it I had been by myself.
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