Jesus Christ Superstar

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.

Original West End Production 1972

1st West End Revival (Japanese) 1991

2nd West End Revival 1996

London Revival 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 (concert)

Jesus Christ Superstar - Original West End Production at the Palace Theatre 1972

Previewed 29 July 1972, Opened 9 August 1972, Closed 23 August 1980 at the Palace Theatre

The original cast featured Paul Nicholas as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Stephen Tate as 'Judas Iscariot', Dana Gillespie as 'Mary Magdalene', John Parker as 'Pontius Pilate', Paul Jabara as 'King Herod', Derek James as 'Simon Zealotes', George Harris as 'Caiaphas', Jimmy Cassidy as 'Annas', and Richard Barnes as 'Peter'. The original cast also included Floella Benjamin, Diane Langton, and Richard O'Brien in the ensemble cast.

Directed by Jim Sharman with movement by Rufus Collins, sets by Brian Thomson, costumes by Gabriella Falk, lighting by Jules Fisher, and sound by David Collison.

The role of 'Jesus' was played by Paul Nicholas (1972 to 1973); Richard Barnes (1973 to 1974); Christopher Neil (1974 to 1975); Steve Alder (1975 to 1978); and Robert Farrant (1978 to 1980).

The role of 'Judas' was played by Stephen Tate (1972 to 1974); Colm Wilkinson (1974 to 1977); and Mike Mulloy (1977 to 1980).

The role of 'Mary' was originally scheduled to be played by Sylvia McNeill but she was replaced just prior to preview performances by Dana Gillespie (1972 to 1973); Anna Macleod (1973 to 1974); Sharon Campbell (1974 to 1975); Anne Kavanagh (1975 to 1978); Marloe Wilson (1978 to 1979); Bronwyn Baud (1979); and Siobhan McCarthy (1979 to 1980).

On 3 October 1978 this production became the longest-running musical in British Theatre history having played 2,620 performances - beating the previous record-holder Olivier! at the New Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) from 1960 to 1966. By the time it closed in August 1980 Jesus Christ Superstar had played a total of 3,357 regular performances (and 11 public preview performances for a combined total of 3,368 performances). This longest-running record remained for nine years, until it was overtaken on 12 May 1989 by the Andrew Lloyd Webber and TS Elliot musical Cats at the New London Theatre.

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 featured Yuichiro Yamaguchi as 'Jesus', Jun Sawaki as 'Judas Iscariot', and Chizu Hosaka as 'Mary Magdalene'. Directed by Keita Asari with designs by Kaoru Kanamori. This production was 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

The original cast featured Steve Balsamo as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Zubin Varla as 'Judas Iscariot', Joanna Ampil as 'Mary Magdalene', David Burt as 'Pontius Pilate', Nick Holder as 'King Herod', Glenn Carter as 'Simon Zealotes', Peter Gallagher as 'Caiaphas', Martin Callaghan as 'Annas', and Paul Hawkyard as 'Peter', with Joanthan Hart, Georgie Hayes, Adriano Agostino, Grant Anthony, Peter Bishop, William Byrne, Mark Caroll, Perry Douglin, Thom Graham, Fred Johanson, Danovan Lawrence, Adrian Lewis Morgan, Ian Pirie, Michael Small and Zeph.

The second cast from 15 September 1997 through to 28 March 1998 featured Glenn Carter as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Ramon Tikaram as 'Judas Iscariot', and Joanna Ampil as 'Mary Magdalene'.

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, 2017, 2019

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
Previewed 4 July 2019, Opened 9 July 2019, Closed 24 August 2019 at the Barbican Theatre
Opened 14 August 2020 (no previews), Closed 27 September 2020 concert staging 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 six-week season

The 2016, 2017 and 2019 seasons where fully-staged. The 2020 season was a concert staging when, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the seating capacity of the Open Air Theatre was reduced from 1,256 to 390 to meet government guidance on social distancing for the audience. The concert played a nine performance-a-week schedule over a six-week run: Tuesday to Sunday evenings, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon matinees. In addition the three lead roles where 'double-cast'.

The cast for the 2016 season at the Open Air Theatre featured Declan Bennett as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Tyrone Huntley as 'Judas Iscariot', Anoushka Lucas as 'Mary Magdalene', David Thaxton as 'Pontius Pilate', Peter Caulfield as 'King Herod', Joel Harper-Jackson as 'Simon Zealotes', Cavin Cornwall as 'Caiaphas', Sean Kingsley as 'Annas', and Phil King as 'Peter', with Ashley Andrews, Will Barratt, Billy Cullum, Joshua Dever, Omari Douglas, Simon Hardwick, Shanay Holmes, Raquel Jones, Bobbie Little, Sinead Long, Genesis Lynea, Gloria Obianyo, Rosa O'Reilly, Joseph Prouse, Charlotte Riby, Cameron Sharp, Barnaby Thompson and Rhys Whitfield.

The cast for the 2017 season at the Open Air Theatre featured Declan Bennett as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Tyrone Huntley as 'Judas Iscariot', Maimuna Memon as 'Mary Magdalene', David Thaxton as 'Pontius Pilate', Peter Caulfield as 'King Herod', Tim Newman as 'Simon Zealotes', Phillip Browne as 'Caiaphas', Sean Kingsley as 'Annas', and Phil King as 'Peter', with Nicholle Cherrie, Josh Dever, Mark Dugale, Ivan De Freitas, Stevie Hutchinson, Sinead Long, Kayleigh McKnight, Javar La'Trail Parker, Nuno Queimado, Lauran Rae, Charlotte Riby, Cleve September, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda, Kirstie Skivington, Christopher Tendai, Dale White, Rhys Whitfield and Tara Young.

The cast for the 2019 season at the Barbican Theatre featured Robert Tripolino as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Ricardo Afonso as 'Judas Iscariot', Sallay Garnett as 'Mary Magdalene', Matt Cardle as 'Pontius Pilate', Samuel Buttery as 'King Herod', Tim Newman as 'Simon Zealotes', Cavin Cornwall as 'Caiaphas', Nathan Amzi as 'Annas', and Matthew Harvey as 'Peter', with Daniel Bailey, Bernadette Bangura, Robert Bannon, Cyrus Brandon, Melanie Bright, Georgia Carling, Dale Evans, Rosie Fletcher, Luke Hall, Simon Hardwick, Josh Hawkins, Dayle Hodge, Stevie Hutchinson, Cleopatra Joseph, Rachel Moran, Billy Nevers, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Elliotte Williams-N'Dure.

The cast for the 2020 concert season at the Open Air Theatre featured Declan Bennett or Pepe Nufrio as 'Jesus of Nazareth', Tyrone Huntley or Ricardo Afonso as 'Judas Iscariot', Anoushka Lucas or Maimuna Memon as 'Mary Magdalene', David Thaxton as 'Pontius Pilate', Shaq Taylor as 'King Herod', Cedric Neal as 'Simon Zealotes', Ivan De Freitas as 'Caiaphas', Nathan Amzi as 'Annas', and Phil King as 'Peter', with Barnaby Thompson, Billy Nevers, Charlotte Riby, Dale Evans, Daniel Bailey, Elliotte Williams-NíDure, Genesis Lynea, Josh Hawkins, Rosa OíReilly, Rosie Fletcher, Stevie Hutchinson, Tara Young, and Tinovimbanashe Sibanda.

Directed by Timothy Sheader with choreography by Drew McOnie, designs by Tom Scutt, lighting by Lee Curran, and sound by Nick Lidster.

When this production opened at the Barbican Theatre in July 2019, Jessie Thompson in the London Evening Standard said that, "as Jesus, Robert Tripolino brings an impish charm, which later brims over into frightened fragility; Sallay Garnett's Mary Magdalene has a soulful dignity... The singing is uniformly excellent, if occasionally drowned out by the face-meltingly loud guitars." Marianka Swain in the i newspaper highlighted that "the real superstar still is Drew McOnie's choreography. His ensemble savours the delirious ecstasy of surrender to something greater... Robert Tripolino is a magnetic hipster Jesus and Ricardo Afonso's Judas shows off creamy vocals... This is cool but camp, spectacular but grounded, playful but soulful." Ann Treneman in the Times commented that "this production has a swagger that appeals," adding that, as Jesus, Robert Tripolino "doesn't go full superstar on us until almost the end. Mr Messiah is upstaged throughout by Judas. Ricardo Afonso is electric in the role." Luke Jones in the Daily Mail thought that "Timothy Sheader's production is doused in constant, gloopy, overly gestured Nineties boyband choreography," as Jesus, Robert Tripolino has "a belting pair of lungs, and did smash out some of the screechier tunes well, but there was no taste of superstar... the much-needed charisma, stage presence and rock-star sparkle comes from 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle, who makes a terrific Pilate.


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."

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.

"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 opened on 14 August 2020, and closed on 27 September 2020