Musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Set against the backdrop of Jesus Christ's last weeks alive on earth as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Includes the songs I Don't Know How to Love Him; Gethsemane; and Superstar.
Jesus Christ Superstar - Original West End Production at the Palace Theatre 1972 - 3,357 performances
Previewed 29 July 1972, Opened 9 August 1972, Closed 23 August 1980 at the Palace Theatre
The original cast featured Paul Nicholas as 'Jesus', Dana Gillespie as 'Mary Magdalene' and Stephen Tate as 'Judas Iscariot'. Directed by Jim Sharman with designs by Brian Thomson.
Jesus Christ Superstar - 1st West End Revival at the Dominion Theatre 1991
Opened 24 September 1991, Closed 28 September 1991 at the Dominion Theatre
A Japanese language revival of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical presented by The Shiki Theatre Company of Tokyo in traditional Kabuki style. Presented as part of the Japan Festival 1991.
The cast features Yuichiro Yamaguchi as 'Jesus', Chizu Hosaka as 'Mary Magdalene' and Jun Sawaki as 'Judas Iscariot'. Directed by Keita Asari with designs by Kaoru Kanamori. PLEASE NOTE this production is performed in Japanese.
Jesus Christ Superstar - 2nd West End Revival at the Lyceum Theatre 1996
Previewed 12 November 1996, opened 19 November 1996, closed 28 March 1998 at the Lyceum Theatre
A major revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Jesus Christ Superstar in London starring Steve Balsamo and directed by Gale Edwards.
When the original West End production of Jesus Christ Superstar closed after 3,368 performances in 1980 (3,357 performances and 11 public previews), it had been seen by four and a half million people; setting a new record as the longest running and most popular West End musical ever. Now Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber are collaborating on a powerful and compellingly new production with director Gale Edwards and designer John Napier.
The original cast for this revival featured Steve Balsamo as 'Jesus Christ', Zubin Varla as 'Judas Iscariot', Joanna Ampil as 'Mary Magdalene', Nick Holder as 'King Herod' and David Burt as 'Pilate'. During the run Glen Carter and Ramon Tikaram took over the roles of 'Jesus' and 'Judas'. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice and book by Tom O'Horgan, it is directed by Gale Edwards with choreography by Aletta Collins, designs by John Napier and lighting by David Hersey.
"Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's JC is back in town in all his glory. The second coming of Jesus Christ Superstar lifted the roof of the newly re-opened Lyceum Theatre in London. What the religious rock opera has lost in shock value since it first opened in the 70s it makes up for with sheer dramatic force... Bearded Steve Balsamo looks every inch everyone's idea of Jesus of Nazareth with long hair and flowing white nightshirt... He gave a performance of power and passion. He stopped the show with his big solo Gethsemane and you could hear a piece of silver drop when he whispered forgiveness for his captors as he was nailed to the cross. There was plenty of spectacle in the £3.5 million production but it was never allowed to overshadow the starkness of the tragedy played out in the main on a bare round stage... Rice and Lloyd Webber's reborn JC will be the star of the West End this Christmas - and for many months after." The Daily Mirror
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were fortunate in choosing the most famous story ever told. For though Rice's lyrics - flip, witty and accessible - are usually, and unfairly, underrated, you can't ignore the fact that this show is essentially a rock album with costumes. It moves with an exhilarating speed from one big tune to the next, without getting snarled up with the intricacies of dialogue... This production shifts the emphasis away from Judas Iscariot, here receiving a harsh, distancing performance from Zubin Varla, towards Jesus, the seemingly gentle, hippy-ish Steve Balsamo. Balsamo is superb: he delivers 'Gethsemane' with a thrilling go-for-broke conviction... But despite the cast's best efforts, Superstar's origins as a rock album make the show more stirring than moving." The Independent on Sunday
"Not so much a revival as a resurrection brings Jesus Christ Superstar back into London's West End-and what a triumph it is. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company and Australian director Gale Edwards have injected the 25-year-old gospel according to Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice with an elixir of new life that should guarantee packed pews at the lavishly refurbished Lyceum Theatre... Electric and emotion-charged, you're all right by me, JC." The News of the World
"Gale Edwards's towering, superbly orchestrated production is, like the show itself, not friendly to real acting, and the best performances come from actors who have worked quite a lot in the straight theatre: Nick Holder (Herod), David Burt (Pilate) and, above all, Zubin Varla's angry, tortured Judas. JCS is, for me, still Rice and Lloyd Webber's best work: full of ambition, musical power, fierce rock rhythms and bare-faced cheek. The sheer vulgarity of the title takes your breath away. You will not see for a long time what the restored interior of the Lyceum is really like: this show will go on and on and on, and John Napier's stunning, sprawling set will probably, like the grave in Hamlet, last until Doomsday." The Sunday Times
Jesus Christ Superstar in London at the Lyceum Theatre previewed from 12 November 1996, opened on 19 November 1996 and closed on 28 March 1998
Jesus Christ Superstar - London Revival - Open Air Theatre - 2016 and 2017
Previewed 15 July 2016, Opened 21 July 2016, Closed 27 August 2016 at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park
Previewed 11 August 2017, Opened 17 August 2017, Closed 16 September 2017 at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park
The return of the Timothy Sheader's acclaimed revival of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's seminal musical Jesus Christ Superstar for a strictly limited five week season
Casting to be announced. Directed by Timothy Sheader with choreography by Drew McOnie, designs by Tom Scutt, lighting by Lee Curran and sound by Nick Lidster. This production was originally staged here at the Open Air Theatre in 2016. This 2017 staging marks 45 years since the musical's was first staged in London at the Palace Theatre in 1972.
When this production opened at the Open Air Theatre in July 2016, Neil Norman in the Daily Express wrote that "Timothy Sheader attempts to reboot the show by investing it with a hoodie'n'tracksuit energy that almost works. Visually it is given a lift by Drew McOnie's sharp and scintillating choreography which makes fine use of the minimally dressed set and the skeletal ironwork atop which two bands - one rock, one classical - perform." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times described how "Jesus Christ Superstar is resurrected in this cracking production for a new generation... Director Timothy Sheader channels the festival vibe for his open-air staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said: "A simple praise-be is owed to Timothy Sheader for mounting a proper theatrical realisation at Regent's Park... In the final reckoning, Superstar's seductive youthful potency and its Christ-like radicalism - courting sacrilege, yet achieving an essence of spiritual intensity - is reborn here in euphoria-inducing style. Hallelujah!" Sam Marlowe in the Times commented that "Timothy Sheader's production brings a modern sensibility to the piece without overdoing the 21st-century trappings. It doesn't muster enough dramatic potency until near the crucifixion climax, but it's fresh and lively, its familiar numbers delivered with such full-throated joy that at times it's like witnessing a minor miracle." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard explained that "each new production needs a sprinkling of directorial genius to give it wings. Delightfully, the Open Air Theatre makes this work soar... Timothy Sheader offers some of the most stylish direction Iíve seen all year, sculpting each segment into something distinct and vivid and compelling." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail said, "after a wet June, the Regent's Park Open Air has had a gloriously sunny week ó and has opened a must-witness version of the 1970 Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Shorn of hippy excesses, infused with melancholy, this production is a work of rare mission and artistic merit... Fantastic show."
The weather Every theatre performance is unique, but this is especially the case here at the Open Air Theatre where both the stage and auditorium seating are completely uncovered and open to the elements. It is therefore best to come prepared for all types of weather. It is particularly important to bring a jumper for the end of evening performances. Bad weather may mean that performances have to be stopped and be re-started but, on average, 94% of performances are completed each season. In the event that the performance is abandoned due to bad weather, no refunds are given, but you can exchange your tickets for a future performance. Performances are never cancelled prior to the start time. Please speak to a member of staff on the evening.
Timothy Sheader is the Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre. His recent credits here include Arthur Miller's All My Sons in 2014; Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird in 2013, returned 2014; the Gershwin musical Crazy For You in 2011 (transferred to Novello Theatre in 2011); and William Golding's Lord of the Flies in 2011, returned 2015. His other credits include the new musical Imagine This at the New London Theatre in 2008.
This production was originally stage here at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park during 2016 (previewed from 15 July 2016, opened on 21 July 2016 and closed on 27 August 2016) when the cast featured Declan Bennett as 'Jesus' with Tyrone Huntley as 'Judas', Anoushka Lucas as 'Mary', David Thaxton as 'Pilate', Peter Caulfield as 'Herod', Cavin Cornwall as 'Caiaphas', Joel Harper-Jackson as 'Simon Zealotes', Phil King as 'Peter' and Sean Kingsley as 'Annas'. This 2016 run marked 45 years since the musical's stage premiere on Broadway in October 1971.
"Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1970 rock-opera take on the last days of Christ was last seen in a stonkingly ghastly arena tour the creators should still be atoning for. Tim Sheader's largely stripped-down open-air staging makes it, if not a matter of sacred import, then at least praiseworthy and at times glorious. It plays out on and around a set of rusty metal girders and a fallen cross... A handful of luxuriant symbolic touches in Sheader's production nod to the musical's camper indulgences. Bodies get splashed with colour, as in the heyday of action painting, and glitter mixes with blood." The Sunday Times
"Jesus Christ Superstar should never have been resurrected. Its jaunty irreverence may have been provocative in the 1960s but now the only outrage is caused by the banality of the lyrics and bombast of the music. Timothy Sheader's production exacerbates matters, with its ugly iron-girder set, largely monochrome costumes, aerobicsclass choreography and undistinguished performances." The Sunday Express
Jesus Christ Superstar in London at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park previewed from 11 August 2017, opened on 17 August 2017 and closed on 16 September 2017.