Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Format: Audio CD
Label: Aztec Music
IT’S REMARKABLE to consider that in the 46 years since the 1972 debut of the original Australian stage production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, there has never been an official recording released of the actual live show from that time. It was one of the most significant events in local theatre, and surely it deserves to be presented for audio gratification before the memories fade from the minds and hearts of those who saw it in the first place. The wait is finally over as Aztec Records now delivers, on double CD, a stirring performance from December 1973 that captures the show in all its glory.
Jesus Christ Superstar, the original rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), told the story of the final six days in the life of Jesus Christ through the troubled eyes of Judas Iscariot. It was a cultural event not seen or heard before. When the Australian production opened it was the most anticipated and lavish theatre event in the era of Jesus Rock. In a TV advert aired in the day, producer Harry M. Miller extolled the virtues of the show when he announced, “Perhaps once in a lifetime there comes an entertainment phenomenon, a show that gets to the heart of all people, really moves them. Jesus Christ Superstar is such a show and I think it’s important that you see it, with your children.”
Directed by the most gifted and radical director on the Sydney theatre scene, Jim Sharman, this 1973 performance features the incomparable charisma and sterling voices of Jon English (Judas), Marcia Hines (Mary Magdalene), Trevor White (Jesus), John Paul Young (Annas), Reg Livermore (King Herod) and Stevie Wright (Simon Zealotes). Sharman went on to direct the original theatre production of The Rocky Horror Show and the subsequent film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of course, Jon, Marcia, John Paul and Stevie are renowned as among Australia’s most famous pop stars, much beloved by all fans of Countdown and beyond.
Despite the positive nature of the rock opera, the local production was beset by controversy. Protesters were out in force in Sydney, offended by the perceived blasphemous nature of the show. Placards were raised in anger – “Jesus Christ is our Saviour, not a Super Star” – with theatre patrons, and even Jon English on one occasion, being jostled by the crowds. To make matters worse there was also a bomb threat which, fortunately, proved to be unfounded. The initial backlash was all a storm in a teacup because Jesus Christ Superstar emerged as a celebrated crowd favourite and ran for a record-breaking three years.
For the first time ever – previously unreleased live recordings of the original Australian stage production. Featuring Jon English, Marcia Hines, Trevor White, John Paul Young, Reg Livermore, Stevie Wright. The entertainment phenomenon of the early 1970s, the most lavish theatre event of the day. From the original rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Digitally Remastered sound, on a Deluxe DOUBLE CD Digipak, colour booklet with rare photos and detailed liner notes