Monday, April 02, 2007

Musical Monday #15

In spite of my golfing views of Holy Week (see post below), it really does hold a place in my heart. The entire Biblical story of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection--all of it was a big deal to my Catholic grad school upbringing. And it sticks with me today.

I clearly remember then, back in 1970, when my mother bought the album "Jesus Christ Superstar". I just knew that she was going to go to hell for that. She tried to get me to listen to it, but I'd have nothing to do with anything so blasphemous. At least while she was around. For you youngsters out there who know nothing of the rock opera (and SHAME on you!)--it's based on the last week of Jesus' life. Holy Week. And set to rock music!! Well--I was hooked. I still have the original album (stole it from her and have never returned it). I also have a number of different versions on CD--movie soundtrack, 25th anniversary edition, a couple of other different cast soundtracks, VHS and DVD of the original movie, and a DVD of a newer production from about 6 years ago.

In late 1997, the theater dept. at the college where I worked part-time held auditions for their production of JCSS. I was excited. I knew that I'd be conducting the pit orchestra/band. The only thing that would have made it better was if I could be playing as well. Since I would be doing the music end of things, I came to help with auditions. Short story--there was one role that just couldn't be filled by those who auditioned. We were all sitting apart so that we couldn't influence each other, but it was fairly obvious as to whom was getting which roles. All except King Herod. Sure, he only shows up in one scene, but his vaudeville-style song is the comic relief in the midst of the entire opera. What would we do?? There just wasn't anyone in the theater that had that comedic aura, look or voice. Well, there was one person--me. Yes, even without audition, I was chosen to play King Herod! It was simple enough--the band was actually on stage during the show, so all I had to do was step out from behind a beaded curtain (early 70s, remember?), let the band go off on their own, and I would sing and dance my way into everybody's heart. And I was a hit!

I have a video of one of our performances. I go back from time to time to relive that. I also will, at some point this week, watch both DVDs that I have. For Musical Monday, I give you two of my three favorite songs from the opera (there's really not a bad song in the entire thing). I couldn't find the actual song "Jesus Christ Superstar" at Radio.Blog.Club--other than some bizarre goth-type version. I might add that later just for variety. But I did include "Simon Zealotes", which is probably my favorite, and then "King Herod's Song". Enjoy!

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