Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jesus Christ Superstar

Music is such a big part of the teenage years for most of us. I remember being enamoured with pop radio and one year writing down the name of each song on the top 100 count down. I had posters of music artists on my walls, memorized lyrics of sappy love songs (although I remember being vaguely aware that these songs were expressing things that were still beyond me).

But I also remember sitting in the dark in the living room, listening to some of my the LPs from my parents’ collection. Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Simon and Garfunkel, Mamas and the Papas. And these are the albums and artists that have stayed with me over the years, unlike the one-hit wonders like Tiffany or the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

Tonight, when I found out that Jesus Christ Superstar is playing at Stratford this summer, I had again a flashback to my youth. My parents had the original 1970’s recording of this Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice Rock-Opera production. I don’t remember how long it was – but it was several records all together.

There were certain songs I liked to listen to from time to time (i.e. ‘I don’t know how to love him’) but every now and then I would listen to it all from start to finish. I was a kid who had been raised on the Bible and I knew the Scripture’s version of the Crucifixion – so perhaps there was some teenaged rebellious part of me that like the irreverent take on some aspects of the story. But my teenage heart was also moved by the poetry and passion of the lyrics and the music. And it’s not exactly sacrilegious – just not the Sunday School version of the story.

And now I’m itching to head down to Stratford to actually see this rock-opera that I’ve only ever listened to (although thanks to YouTube I can now see some movie clips). I’ve never been to Stratford either, although I’ve often wanted to go. Funny, as someone who loves Shakespeare, you would think that would have been the draw... but there are always opportunities to see Shakespeare – this would be a rare treat.

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