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  • 8/3/2019 Jesus Christ Superstar English


    Jesus Christ Superstar

    Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Book/Lyrics by Tim Rice

    Jesus Christ Superstar is a monument in musical history. A Rock Opera released in October 1970

    amongst much controversy, the work centers around the last seven days of Christ's life seen through

    the eyes of Judas.


    Act I

    After an overture, the production starts with a musical monologue from the apostle Judas Iscariot,

    who expresses concern over Jesus' rising popularity as a "king" and the negative repercussions that

    it will have ("Heaven on Their Minds"). While Judas still loves Jesus, he believes that Jesus is just a

    man and that the movement is getting too large and will eventually be seen as a threat to the higher

    order. Judas believes, once this comes to pass, that not only will Jesus receive the consequences, but

    so will all of his followers.

    However, Judas' warning falls on deaf ears, as Jesus' followers have their minds set on going toJerusalem with Jesus. As they question Jesus as to when they will be arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus

    tells them to stop worrying about the future since whatever will happen is already predetermined by

    God ("What's the Buzz?").Recognizing that Jesus is irritated by the badgering from his followers, Mary Magdalene helps

    Jesus relax by anointing him with ointment. Judas expresses concern over the fact that Jesus is

    associating himself with Mary, a prostitute. Judas says that by associating with her, he (Jesus) is

    contradicting everything that he says and this, in turn, will be used against him and his followers

    ("Strange Thing Mystifying"). Jesus gets angry and tells Judas that unless he is without sin himself,

    he should not judge the character of others. Jesus then reproaches his apostles for being "shallow,

    thick and slow" and exclaims that not a single man among them cares about him.

    In a scene added exclusively for the 1973 movie version, a high priest Caiaphas complains aboutthe provocations that Jesus is causing and how his actions threaten the people, the Romans and the

    priests themselves. Fellow priest Annas tries to reassure him that Jesus is merely what the people

    want and that he is simply a fad; but when Caiaphas points out the risks that believing so takes,

    Annas advises him to present his case to the priests' council, which Caiaphas agrees to do ("Then

    We Are Decided"). Though most versions abstain from the inclusion of this song, it has been

    praised for its development of the characters of Annas and Caiaphas and its linkage of the rest of the


    Mary Magdalene tries to assure Jesus that everything will be all right and attempts to relax him with

    more ointment ("Everything's Alright"). In response, Judas angrily insists that the money used to

    obtain the ointment should have been used to help the poor. Jesus sadly explains that he and his

    followers do not have the resources to help every poor person.Meanwhile, Caiaphas, Annas, and other high-ranking proud Jewish priests meet to discuss Jesus

    and his movement. At this point, his followers continue to grow by the thousands, so much that

    even the higher order is aware of the hype. Given the size of Jesus' movement and the fact that the

    movement consists of Jews who are unwilling to accept the Romans as their kings (in contrast to the

    high Jewish priests), the priests believe that he is becoming a threat to the Roman Empire; and if the

    Roman Empire is threatened, then many Jews will suffer perhaps even those who are not

    following Jesus. As all of the priests attempt to solve the problem of Jesus and his followers,

    Caiaphas states that the only real solution is to kill Jesus ("This Jesus Must Die").

    As Jesus and his followers arrive in Jerusalem, they are confronted by Caiaphas, who demands that

    Jesus disband them. However, Jesus replies that putting an end to the hysteria is impossible

    ("Hosanna"). Afterwards, Jesus is approached by his apostle Simon the Zealot. Realizing thepopularity that Jesus has attained, Simon suggests that he (Jesus) lead his mob in a war against

    Rome and gain absolute power ("Simon Zealotes"). But Jesus vehemently rejects this suggestion,

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    stating that none of his followers understand what true power is nor do they understand his true

    message ("Poor Jerusalem").

    Meanwhile, Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, reveals that he has dreamed of meeting with

    Jesus and seen the aftermath of Jesus' death, where he, Pilate receives all of the blame. However,

    Pilate is not entirely clear of the meaning of his dream ("Pilate's Dream").

    Jesus arrives at the temple in Jerusalem and finds that it is being used for selling everything from

    weapons to prostitutes and drugs. When Jesus arrives, he is furious and demands that the merchants

    and money changers leave the temple ("The Temple"). Angry and tired, Jesus wanders off and isconfronted by a mob of lepers, cripples, and beggars, all wanting to be healed. However, the mob is

    too large and Jesus is overwhelmed. Unable to solve everyone's problems for them, Jesus tells the

    crowd to heal themselves.

    After the mob leaves, Mary Magdalene finds Jesus upset. Mary tells him to rest ("Everything's

    Alright (reprise)"). While Jesus is asleep, Mary reflects on the fact that while she is in love with

    Jesus, he is unlike any man that she has loved before. As a result, Mary does not know how to cope

    with her feelings ("I Don't Know How to Love Him"). As Jesus sleeps, Mary leans down to kiss

    him...only to look up and see that Judas has seen her do so. Judas has been worrying more and more

    about Jesus' ever growing movement, and the discovery of this apparent infatuation with a prostitute

    is the final push for him to take some sort of action. He seeks out the priests and promises to help

    them against Jesus, while emphasizing that he is acting with unselfish motives ("Damned for AllTime"). Caiaphas demands that Judas should reveal the whereabouts of Jesus, so that the authorities

    can apprehend him and imprison him. In exchange for the information, Judas is offered money

    ("Blood Money"). Judas initially turns down the offer, as it raises some ethical concerns within him.

    But he eventually obliges when Caiaphas tells of charities that he can give the money to. Judas

    decides that it would be better to turn Jesus in before his movement gets any bigger, which would

    thus lead to the deaths of not only him, but all of his followers as well. Thus, presumably to save the

    thousands of followers and himself, Judas reveals that on Thursday night, Jesus will be at the

    garden of Gethsemane.

    Act II

    On Thursday, Jesus meets with his twelve apostles for the Last Supper. Jesus realizes, unbeknownst

    to the apostles, that this will be his last supper with them. As Jesus passes bread and pours wine for

    his dining partners, he reminds them that they should remember him during supper by thinking of

    the wine as his blood and the bread as his body. Upon reflection, he angrily exclaims that nobody

    will even remember him after he dies and that two of his closest friends will betray and deny him.

    Jesus then reveals that Peter will be the one who denies him, not once, but three times. When Jesus

    states that one the twelve will betray him, Judas reveals to everyone that he is the person who will

    make the betrayal, but Jesus still allows him to go. Judas attempts to explain why he will do it, but

    Jesus refuses to listen. This makes Judas angry and he blames Jesus for all the trouble that has

    occurred up until this point. Upset, Judas leaves to find the Roman soldiers and bring them to Jesus

    ("The Last Supper").After his apostles go to sleep, Jesus speaks to God, addressing him as "Father". He implores God to

    not let him go through his horrible, predetermined death (as Jesus puts it: "this cup of poison"). He

    reveals that he has become disillusioned with his quest as the Messiah and wishes to give up.

    Exhausted and afraid, he asks God to show him how his death will be in any way meaningful. God

    does not answer, and Jesus realizes that he cannot go against God's will. Jesus agrees to go with

    God's plan, and pleads to take his life quickly before he changes his mind ("Gethsemane (I Only

    Want to Say)").

    Judas arrives with the soldiers and, in order to point Jesus out to them, kisses him on the cheek.

    Afterwards, Jesus is arrested. As his apostles wake up, they attempt to fight the authorities in order

    to free their Messiah, but Jesus asks them to put their swords away and let the authorities take him

    to Caiaphas. As the Roman soldiers take him to Caiaphas, a mob, imitating news reporters, asksJesus what he plans to do, but Jesus declines to comment. When Jesus meets with Caiaphas,

    Caiaphas asks if he is the son of God. Jesus responds: "That's what you say, you say that I am." This

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    answer provides enough justification for the high priests to send Jesus to Pontius Pilate ("The


    Meanwhile, Jesus' apostle Peter is confronted by an old man, a soldier, and a maid by a fire. Each

    state that they remember seeing him with Jesus, but to all three people, Peter denies that he knows

    him. Peter's denial is witnessed by Mary, who, after the three people leave, asks Peter why he

    denied Jesus. Peter responds that he had to do it in order to save himself, since