On Sunday, NBC had the latest televised live musical event and perhaps the only one this year, well Disney Channel does have Freaky Friday airing sometime this summer. As for Bye Bye Birdie, the long gestating next live musical on NBC has been pushed back to 2019 and Fox is slated to be doing Rent Live on January 27, 2019. While this is a long time from now we got one of the better television musicals in recent years could that be based only on the choice of actors or how it was staged or even the musical itself.
Jesus Christ Superstar first came out as a concept album in 1970 and had success on the Billboard Pop charts topping them for the year over Carole King’s Tapestry. It started with rock and musical theater singers so why not capture this again, as they’ve done numerous time through the years. Having it staged as a concert also helped since it didn’t have to worry about sets, PBS has broadcast several other shows in concert were they are sort of semi-staged like this and they are always enjoyable to watch. Perhaps they could shift to these concert versions for a while or start picking shows that people know and aren’t afraid to watch. Jesus Christ Superstar is being widely recognized as the best of all the “live musicals” that both NBC and FOX have done in this latest go round of televised musicals.
The reviews have all been praising Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas as the highlight of the event Dixon recently was Aaron Burr in Hamilton. Sara Bareilles and John Legend also got some good reviews however Legend more so with for his singing and his vocal range as opposed to his acting chops. This seems to be something that the musical already has written into it as Judas plays a more compelling role in the show. The biggest problem that seemed universal was the costuming with most of the cast in sort of leather/pleather made no sense. If you haven’t watched it yet I’m sure that NBC has it On Demand so check it out.