An original ‘Superstar’ arrives hereAndrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” is returning to Korea, but for the first time it will be presented in the original version, without the alterations that have marked previous stagings here.
More than a million Koreans have seen the musical since it was first performed here in 1980. Despite its popularity, however, the show has never been performed here without significant changes. A religious element was added to the musical even though Mr. Lloyd Webber’s production acquired its fame by approaching the story of Jesus through a more secular ― some would say blasphemous ― perspective.
“Jesus Christ Superstar” was first performed on Broadway in 1971, creating a sensation among theatergoers who were tired of traditional musicals. It portrays the last seven days of Jesus Christ before his death, and tries to approach Jesus as a human being rather than God.
Mary Magdalene is portrayed as Jesus’ lover, and Judas as a man who is torn between religious belief and rationalism. That offended many Christian groups, and some even were angered that Jesus was called a “superstar.” There were constant protests against the show, and some radio stations banned its music.
As much as the musical incensed religious groups, the shockingly brave quality of the story fascinated others. Given the show’s imaginative aspect, performances were frequently sold out, and the soundtrack sold well in record stores throughout the United States.
In Korea, however, performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” have been quite different from the original musical. From the earliest performances, productions tried to interpret the story through a more traditional religious perspective, and added such elements as a cross in the center of the stage and a scene of Jesus’s resurrection.
This time, the staging will be faithful to the original story, from the dialogue to the song lyrics. This is the first time that Mr. Lloyd Webber’s production company is involved in producing the musical here.
Performances will run from Thursday to Nov. 28 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. The show will be performed in Korean with an all-Korean cast. It will then tour Daegu, Gwangju, Busan and Daejeon. It is being co-produced by Seol & Co., The Really Useful Group and CJ Entertainment, and hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theater.
by Choi Sun-young
Tickets are available through Interpark (1544-1555, www.ticketpark.com), Ticketlink (1588-7890, www.ticketlink.co.kr), Maxticket (1544-0113, www.maxticket.com) and Clipservice (02-501-7888, www.clip2u.co.kr). For more information call Clipservice or visit www.musicalsuperstar.co.kr.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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