I have a habit of taking Felix to go see bad plays. I don't really know why this happens, but every time I plan a little date for us that includes a play, it sucks. Then I feel bad and embarrassed that I have dedicated much of my life to this art and I'm sure Felix probably wonders why I do. Though, last night takes the cake (a subject I wish I was talking about instead) of all time bad plays.
Do not go see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Orpheum in San Francisco.
Usually I don't like trashing plays because I know the pain and sweat it takes to put on a production, but this production was so garbled and self congratulatory that I really have no choice. People who make theater like this should be punished because it's why theater is dying in America. And I know for most of the people in the audience, this was their only theater excursion for the year so they could get some "culture." More like torture. But onto the main dish, the rant of why I hated Jesus Christ Superstar:
1) ACT I - yes, I know this is a big reason but Act I of this play really sucks. It either takes too much time explaining a simple concept (yes we get it that ya'll are Jesus' 'commue' friends and you follow him around) and not enough time explaining something that is actually interesting (Jesus visiting the Temple where bad stuff is going down). Because of these two things, you are either bored or confused.
2) Judas. Judas, you are a good singer and actor, but I couldn't understand a word that came out of your mouth. You got too into the concept that this was a rock opera- stop yelping and start articulating at least a third of your words.
3) Jesus. Where do I begin. How about at the fact that you, Ted Neeley, are 63, not 33. You probably should have stopped playing Jesus 20 years ago. You made the play so weird! When you had all of your rants to God, it just looked like you were a crazy, mumbling old man. After I came out of the theater, someone who looked like you asked me for money. You might make a good King Lear. And you did not hit that note you wanted to- I know lots of people clapped, but really you hurt my ears and made me cringe. And you looked and moved like the Jesus in South Park.
Factors that redeemed the play minorly and made me not renounce theater forever:
1) Simon and Mary- you guys could sing and I could understand what you were saying . Thank you.
2) Herod- During Herod's number, I though I had landed in a different play- like the Producers with Nathan Lane as Herod. Your number didn't fit in with JC Superstar because it was good. It was funny- it made choices and risked offending people instead of making no choices at all and being bland (ahem, Jesus).
3) Some nice visual images and a good use of color.
4) The fact that Judas sang the reprise of "I don't know how to love him." That was clever and I didn't see it coming.
5) The chorus. I'm sorry you guys are in such a sucky play and I hope this doesn't effect your career. I looked through the playbill and it seems that many of you have also been in Godspell which makes me feel for you more. Anyway, you guys were good. You had some nice numbers like "Could We Start Again, Please" and "Simon Zealotes."
Ok, now I feel awful- but it had to be done. Maybe I'll go see Jersey Boys which I hear is good. I need a theater redemption experience...