This season, between GODSPELL and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, I've learned more about the last week of Jesus' life than I ever knew before. The season started for me at Circle in the Square when I took my eight year old to see GODSPELL. (You can read about that visit HERE). I must admit, although I enjoyed the show and was happy to find something on Broadway that I could enjoy along with my daughter, I was a bit confused about the actual story. Like most Broadway folk, I've known the score the GODSPELL backwards and forwards since probably the summer before fifth grade when I was introduced to all things theatre at summer camp. But knowing the lyrics did nothing to help me understand the well-known plot points unfolding before me. As a Jewish woman I never sat down and read the story of Christ's life, so this year Broadway taught it to me.
When I learned I'd have the opportunity to catch the final preview performance of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, I remembered my experience with GODSPELL and decided to do a little research. I went online and learned the basics….not from any religious point of view, just the historical interpretation of the Gospel's account of the last week of Jesus' life, from the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem to the crucifixion. I'm so glad I took the time to do this, because knowing the history ahead of time went a long way towards enhancing the impact that this edgy rock opera had on this Jewish mother of two.
Of course, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is NOT something you bring your kids to see. (At least not for me). The show is a volcanic explosion of hard rock voices, sexual undertones and violent staging. It's hard-hitting on an adult level and I can't imagine many kids under 16 making it through the first act. GODSPELL, on the other hand, is perfect for families. Even the crucifixion is staged with a gentle hand. While Superstar presents a viscerally acute depiction of the savageness of the act of crucifixion, GODSPELL never shows us any blood and doesn't spend much time at all on what could be potentially too much for a sensitive soul to take in.
But thing that I walked away with after seeing JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR that was most impressive was actually something I would have liked to have shared with my daughter: The most incredible rock voices I've ever heard on Broadway. The night I attended, Jeremy Kushnier was on for Josh Young in the role of Judas Iscariot. As disappointed as I was not to see Josh, Jeremy did NOT disappoint! I was literally blown away by his unending vocal energy and explosive musical choices. I'd like to return to see Josh Young's Judas at some point.
It's really a win-win for me: I'm always excited to find shows that I can share with my children, but equally satisfied to have the rare opportunity in my busy-mom life to be blown away by a thrilling, adult-oriented Broadway show. And on top of that, I finally learned about something I might never discovered on my own. It's shaping up to be quite a Broadway season!