Jesus Christ Superstar, a musical by Tim Rice, is one of those bits of Christian art that, somehow, despite its message, became cool not only with Christians — well, the Christians who didn’t have sticks up their asses anyway — but also with atheists. The VHS of the 1973 production is one of the few pieces of Christian kitsch we had in our admittedly mostly-liberal Catholic household when I was growing up, save of course one of those silly pewter Virgin Mary reliefs we had hung over our living room entrance. I remember most of the music from the musical quite well, though it’s been at least a dozen years since the last time I’ve watched it. And damn, but that music is groovy.
So, I am simultaneously unsurprised by, and excited about, this news.
It can be revealed that Minchin will play the disciple Judas in a major revival of the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
He will join the pop singer Nicole Scherzinger, playing Mary Magdalene, in an arena tour of the musical by Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice which will open at London’s O2 arena this summer.
He said: “I reckon I sang this song standing in my parents’ living room, to the vinyl original recording, about 500 times, and subsequently got to understudy the role of Judas in two separate Perth productions of JC Superstar but I never played the role and I keep thinking one day I’m going to play Judas. I just love it because it is just pain and rock.”
Yeah. No kidding. I couldn’t have come up with a better choice for that part if I tried, frankly. Tim Minchin is exactly right for it. Though, to me, no matter who plays it, Carl Anderson will always be the image of Judas that’s burned in my mind.
This song is pretty much why I think Judas’ character is the best-characterized:
So, am I the only one who enjoyed this Jesus-fest despite my nascent atheism as a kid? Remember, I pretty much figured out there’s no God at thirteen or fourteen, shortly after my Confirmation. And despite that, I distinctly remember pulling that tape out of my father’s collection and watching it in my room while studying in eleventh grade.