In the early 1970s I never got to see the stage version of Jesus Christ Superstar, but I did see the movie at the drive-in and it was OK from what I remember. This new Broadway production looks great!
Director Des McAnuff’s hyperkinetic productions can give the impression that he never met a scaffold, an elevated catwalk, a video wall or a stadium-style lighting plot he didn’t love. But despite all its tricked-out technology, his Jesus Christ Superstar is firmly tethered to its roots. Its fat, funky synthesizer sounds, folky guitars, wailing rock falsettos and hippified lyrics render it a 1970s pop-culture artifact — earnest but kitsch. Does the production make a great case for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s epochal take on the Passion play? Probably better than most. Either way, it’s an entertaining guilty pleasure.