The show was great. Sure, Ted Neely doesn’t have quite the same voice that he had in 1973 but, honestly, what do you expect. Actually, his lack of the ability to hit an incredibly ridiculously high note every three seconds diminished some of the inherent whininess of his character so I think it was almost a plus. He really saved all the super high crazy singing for “Watch Me Die,” midway through the second act and he thoroughly rocked that song.
Corey Glover, however, was virtually flawless. The “Heaven On Their Minds” opening was simply amazing but I thought he should have really brought the house down with “Superstar” and it wasn’t quite as good as some of his other numbers. Like Monica said, “even though he has second billing those words are still pretty big.” To me he was the star of the show. The program notes about him gave me a chuckle and, since I took the playbill out of my bag I might not get the quote exactly right but it was something like, “Living Colour proved not only that Blacks can kick out the jams but that they can be embraced by a diverse audience.” We had a good chuckle over that one. Was there ever any doubt that Black folk can jam? Sure, hard rock may not be their typically chosen vehicle from which to jam but jamability should never be called into question.
I wasn’t as impressed with some of the other characters. Mary Magdalene did that American Idol growl for emphasis thing a few times and Simon The Zealot wasn’t quite zealous enough for my taste. There was a properly froggy voiced Caiaphas (although I could tell he was more comfortable singing a little higher) even though they changed my favorite line of his from “One thing I’ll say for him, Jesus is cool,” to something nowhere near as hilarious that I can’t remember. King Herod was great though. It’s a relatively serious play so having an awesome Herod to inject some comic relief is important (not that he was the only comic relief of the night). The song was arranged to be more conga than ragtime, which worked, and Herod was attired in a kimono type bathrobe and orange crocs. Normally I hate anything Croc related but Mario Batali and King Herod are total exceptions.
The other entertainment of the night was a woman sitting two rows behind us. I’m not entirely sure what her issue was. At first I thought she was on a field trip with people from her group home. Then I looked and didn’t really see anyone with her. Then I thought she was just slightly special. I’m still not sure if that was the case or if she was just plain old crazy or if she was a normal person who thought the theater was like a movie where it is annoying but somewhat acceptable to yell at the screen. Let me give you a little taste of her medicine.
As the curtain went up and the overture was playing the players made their way onto the stage. She welcomed them, “Hello,” as they continued to dance she was relatively quiet and then Jesus came on stage, “Hallelujah!” There were nudges all around between Tony, Monica, and
The kicker came halfway through the aforementioned “Watch Me Die,” there is a lull in the song, after he is all crazy and screaming at God and before he accepts his fate. During that lull comes, “Sweet hooooly Jesus!” We could take it no more. The laughter came. We tried our best to stifle it but it took us quite a while. One would stop but still be shaking and that would cause the others to laugh harder so the one who had stopped came back to the fold. We finally got it together though. She was pretty quiet until the end of the show. After being crucified and FINALLY dying (it really took him longer than necessary to get out those four lines about they know not what they do and where is my mother and why have you forsaken me and into your hands I commend my spirit than necessary) Jesus rose off the cross and into the rafters to the loving words, “Come back!” to which Tony said, “it will be about three days.”
1. Dear I thought I'd drop a line/ The weather's cool/ The folks are fine/ I'm in bed each night by nine
2. Sitting down by my window/ Looking at the rain/ Sitting down my window/ All around I felt it/ All I could see was the rain
3. I’m a poor boy born in a rut/ Some say my manners aren’t the best/ Some of my friends have been in a whole lot of trouble/ Some say I’m no better than the rest
4. They say some days you're gonna win/ They say some days you're gonna lose/ I tell you I got news for you/ Your losin' all the time you never win
5. A wannabe gangsta/ Thinking he’s a wise guy/ Rob another bank/ He’s a sock em in the eye guy