So Long Judas; Jesus Christ Superstar to Close on Broadway

A divine intervention seems to be the only thing that can save Broadway’s next musical on the chopping block. Yes folks, as always post Tony Awards, Broadway cleans out a little bit of shows that producers no longer seem worth supporting or some of the weaker of the pack close to open and make way for new pieces headed into New York. Today, the Broadway community learned the newest faces to join this group. Jesus Christ Superstar will close on Broadway July 1st, 2012 unless business improves.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock musical that features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical follows the life of Jesus Christ in his final week of life. Trying to spread the word of his mission, the crowd has turned him into a “Superstar” and is slowly loosing what the true meaning behind his word is. The story heavily focuses on the relationship between Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and Judas Iscariot. We see Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and the aftermath that follows as he fights society with his new ideal that the high powers will not answer to.

While the announcement did not come as a surprise to many, producers today announced the closing of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway….without officially saying it would happen. They announced the show close July 1st, 2012 “unless business improves”.  Jesus Christ Superstar opened at the Neil Simon Theatre beginning previews March 1st with an official opening on March 22nd, 2012. If the show closes July 1st, by then the show will have played a total of 24 previews and 116 performances.

 Jesus Christ Superstar transferred to Broadway after a run at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival last summer. The production was nominated for two Tony Awards. Josh Young (pictured left) for an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Judas) and the musical itself was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. It is one of three Andrew Lloyd Webber shows currently running on Broaway this season.

The production itself received mixed reviews all around. Quite literally from negative to positive, Jesus Christ Superstar touched Broadway on a variety of levels. What did the New York Times have to say?

“If this delirious reception for a glitzy depiction of the most influential execution in world history doesn’t strike you as remotely absurd, Mr. McAnuff’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” may just be the right musical for you.” – The New York Times

Not sure if that is good or bad? You may have to do some more research to find out just exactly what the critics thought of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, However, you can check out Luner on Theatre’s entire review of Jesus Christ Superstar right here on our blog! You don’t wanna miss the fantastic words we had for a show we thought was fantastic downright.

The cast features Paul Nolan as Jesus Christ, Josh Young as Judas Iscariot, Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Tom Hewitt as Pontius Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod, Marcus Nance as Caiaphas and Aaron Walpole as Annas. Also in the cast are Matt Alfano as Thaddeus, Mary Antonini as Elizabeth, Karen Burthwright as Ruth, Jacqueline Burtney as Mary (Martha’s Sister), Mark Cassius as Matthew, Ryan Gifford as Bartholomew, Kaylee Harwood as Sarah, Jeremy Kushnier as James the Lesser/Priest, Mike Nadajewski as Peter, Melissa O’Neil as Martha/Maid by the Fire, Laurin Padolina as Rachel, Katrina Reynolds as Esther, Jaz Sealey as Thomas, Jason Sermonia as John, Julius Sermonia as James, Lee Siegel as Simon Zealotes, Jonathan Winsby as Phillip, Sandy Winsby as Andrew, Nick Cartell as Jonah/Swing, with Krista Leis, Matthew Rossoff and Matt Stokes as swings.

I do have to admit that while I very much enjoyed this revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, I can entirely see why the production is closing. For one, the style of this show is very hard to catch on to. It has been done in a modern way to tell a story with a 21st century spin. Not all people expect or appreciate this when it comes to such a classic as JCS. Another major factor is the overall not well known cast. This production transferred with its leads that were getting great reviews in Canada. All of those leads have done their hard work and share through Stratford, California and now their Broadway run. However, as terrible as it is names do sell on Broadway. This show does not have any really.

I would like to take a moment though and give a shout out to the dozens of cast members making their Broadway debut in this show. I am sure they will go on to work and do many great things in various other theatre organizations in New York and beyond. And finally, Jesus Christ Superstar is a tough show to sell. Religion is not new in New York playing against other religious shows such as The Book of Mormon, Godspell and Leap of Faith. Ironically enough, all of these religious based shows have closed besides The Book of Mormon. Does Broadway like mormons more then it likes jesus? We’ll save that for another blog post!

Jesus Christ Superstar will vanish on Broadway July 1st, 2012! Make your way to the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City to experience a resurrection like no other in a fantastic theatre season currently in New York on Broadway. It will most likely be quite some time before you see this show return to Broadway for another revival. For more information, check out Jesus Christ Superstar’s Official Website. And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!

One comment

  • The update was very helpful, thank you! It is sad that the 2012 production of JCS did not make the mark as other previous performances have. Perhaps the original style has been modernized to the extreme, for an audience that is still filled with baby boomers and those who enjoy the classics more. I wish all the actors the best in their careers. -S. Hamilton -Fan of JCS since 1973

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