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Directors ofFor Sama

Lulu Wang(The Farewell)
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Apr 01 2018

Beauty Break: He is Risen

Did you loveJesus Christ Superstar Live!?John Legend was in spectacular voice as Jesus and kudos also to Tony nominee (and one of my favorite Broadway stars) Norm Lewis as Caiaphas.But the scene stealer of the night was Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon who stole the show as Judas Iscariot.He was a glittering reminder,particularly in disco chainmail in the closing fantasy sequence (since Judas had already committed suicide),that live performing is a unique skill set.Imagine your average movie star trying to keep up that much physical and emotional energy for two plus hours while leaping around a stage and singing at the top of their lungs.If anything Dixon's energy only grew as the night wore on.Just stunning.(I'm not talking about his body,but that too.)

ThoughJesus Christ Superstar!was in some ways an odd dated musical choice for a mainstream family event (it's not remotely 'funny' for one)  it was the best produced "Live"musical since that became an annual thing.The set design and direction were amazing,culminating in a major wow of a finale.Still don't love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score and can't fathom why people doing the orchestrations for Lloyd Webber revivals never think to subvert the oh-so-70s electric guitar sound (also a weird issue with the 1996Evitamovie) but you can't have everything.

Since this particular production had all kinds of gorgeous men in fine voice and equally fine body,let's end this Easter weekend sharing photos of the hottest men to have ever played Jesus in the movies or on television before John Legend's go at it.The gallery is after the jump...

Willem Dafoe by Herb Ritts (1988) and Willem Dafoe by Martin Scorsese (1988)

Confession: I've never seenThe Last Temptation of Christ(1988).That's a glaring miss in the annals of statistically crazy Best Director nominations.

Lothaire Bluteau in Jesus of Montreal (1989)

Victor Garber in Godspell (1973)

50s and 60s heartthrob Jeffrey Hunter as King of Kings (1961)

Jim Caviezel for Parade magazine in 2003 and Jim Caviezel via Mel Gibson in 2004

Christian Bale in 1999 photoshoot and 1999 Jesus portrayal

Ewan McGregor on the set of Last Days in the Desert (2015).He also played Satan in the same film.

Haaz Sleiman photographed by Michael Michaud (year unknown) and Haaz Sleiman as Jesus in 2015

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Reader Comments (15)

Don't forget Joaquin!

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

This looked more like a taped Broadway show.In my opinion,the best staged and directed live show to date is Grease Live.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

I thought it was one of the best productions of the show I've ever seen- the staging was very smooth.The guy playing Judas was the best but he does get to sing the flashiest songs.It had some weird choices- the priest dressed like Darth Vader and that temple orgy drug scene.But I found it surprisingly moving- specially the final scene.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Worth noting-if this wins the Variety Speciak Emmy,Webber,Rice & Legend will all EGOT as producers.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I thought it was great.John Legend's acting left something to be desired,but I was pleasantly surprised by his vocals - while he's got a beautiful voice,I didn't think he had the range for JC.(Did they transpose down at all?I couldn't tell.) Regardless,he made good use of his falsetto and pulled it off.Thought the rest of the cast was strong,too - BVD the obvious standout,but really everyone was terrific.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

I really loved it!The staging was really amazing.Both Legend and Bareilles did well for what it's worth,but Jesus NEEDS to have a powerful voice.Especially when you look back at the 1996 London Revival and have someone like Steve Balsamo rocking his 3+ octave range.

P.S.Don't mess with the electric guitar.That's such a staple for this show!

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEli

The audience worked my last nerve more than anything else.A friend of mine who had friends in attendance said that the producers told them to make all of that damn noise throughout.Fortunately,they tired themselves out after a while.

Legend did an admirable job despite the fact that he's neither an actor nor a rock tenor,but Dixon is my new crush.What a long way he's come since I first saw him as "Harpo"in the original Broadway production ofThe Color Purple.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Shoutout to Robert Torti,who played Jesus in the unfairly obscure 2006 Showtime movie "Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical".

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterOtto

Just a minor thing -- the composer's last name is Lloyd Webber,not Webber.

April 2,2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Garret Dillahunt was a sexy Jesus in Book of Daniel.I don't remember if he was sexy but The Real O'Neals had someone recur as Jesus.

April 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

You denied yourself Barbara Hershey in The Last Temptation of Christ because?

April 3,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Keith -- interesting.I always thought it was just his middle name that everyone liked to say like all those three named actresses.Weird that it's not hyphenated but you are correct.

April 3,2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Helen Reddy's first hit was a cover of I Don't Know How to Love Him.It peaked at 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1971.

April 3,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Wonderfully staged and executed show,but the audience,as has been noted before,almost destroyed it.Have audiences started behaving like everything is "The Voice"competition??

April 3,2018 | Unregistered Commenterhepwa

hepwa -- i did notice there was a lot of wooooting for every single vocal run.

April 3,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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