It’s as simple as this: a production in the performing arts has to reach out and grab you by the throat. You can’t negotiate whether to be engaged or not. That was the case last night when I turned on NBCs Jesus Christ Superstar, which my husband, Bohdan “B” Bushell, provided fire for through J&M Special Effects.
I am famous for multi tasking while watching TV; a knitting project was waiting to be finished, there was a load of laundry that could have been folded. From the moment Judas began singing, though, the knitting project lay on the chair and not one piece of laundry was folded. I was riveted. There were no weak links here; it exploded with the spirit of the rock opera that was written when Andrew Lloyd Webber was in his early twenties. All the performances were spectacular, the singing was passionate, with all the desperation that the story of Jesus fully deserves, and the camera work truly made you feel that you were at the Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg, along with the more-than-exploding-with-excitement audience. And there is nothing to say about Alice Cooper, as King Herod, except the fact that he was perfect.
B listened to this album repeatedly as an adolescent; there are certain shows we are captivated by and which bring us to tears no matter how many times we have heard the music or seen the film (mine is An American in Paris). We are the lucky ones, however. We grew up with opera, classical music and musical theatre. My parents took me to the ballet. I went to a school where Matthew Broderick and I were in the same production of The Threepenny Opera. And I was the lucky beneficiary of countless performances at New York's Circle in the Square Theatre, where my best friends' father was the managing producer. The performing arts are in our blood.
The arts, however, should not be reserved for those who can pay; they should be a part of everyone’s life because they are life, through a lovelier lens. If Jesus Christ Superstar teaches us anything it is that music and storytelling are joyous, no matter what the plot line. And the first dramatic productions were pageants with no ticket price, the religious stories that were told throughout the church calendar.
Over and over, you hear a story of a performer who went to see their first production and was captivated (“I knew, then and there, that I had to become an actor/singer/dancer…”). If the performing arts are accessible to all, especially children in school, then they will get the chance to be grabbed by the joyous experience of a spectacular production such as Jesus Christ Superstar.
# Jesus Christ Superstar #NBC #performing arts #arts education #arts for all