The London revival production Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyceum Theatre has posted closing notices for the end of it's current booking period, 28 March 1998.
This revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1970's musical reopened the newly rebuilt Lyceum Theatre in the heart of London's Theatreland on 19 November 1996. The production, with Gale Edward's as director, John Napier as designer and Aletta Collins as choreographer received mostly good notices.
The Daily Express commented "God-Rock is back! And so is London's Lyceum theatre, a totally refurbished 2,000-seater now done out in a riot of mauves, maroon and gilt. It looks like a gaint curry house without tables - but who cares? Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 1971 musical proves to be worthy of this resurrected venue...Instead of going to town on glitz and hydraulics, the show benefits from a lack of pzazz and focuses on the drama of the last seven days of Christ's life...Gale Edwards' thrillingly conceived production gets across the drama without overwhelming the show with lurid kitsch"
The Daily Mail described it as being "darker and starker than the original, the new version strips away most of the glitter to concentrate on emotions. It's effective, especially with John Napier's striking set - a seven-tiered arch blending suggestions of Roman amphitheatre, catacombs and a bull-ring - forcing attention inwards. Todays's Superstar tends to be close-focus instead of wide-angle"
But The Guardian thought that "the variety and dramatic momentum of the score, as if young Lloyd Webber was showing the world just what he could do with a freshness and exuberance lacking in later works, is never matched by a production that fails to convince that Superstar is better staged than listened to...[Director Gale] Edwards' problem is that until the scene of the money lenders in the temple, the narrative is pretty lax and directionless. After the interval, there is much more focus, but unfortunately also more gold lame and bondage and take-offs of the Supremes. In a show that revels in pastiche, it is hard to avoid camp, and once she's got the whiff of dry ice in her nostrils, Edwards doesn't hold back" The production was nominated at the 1997 Olivier Awards for 'Outstanding Musical Production' but lost out to Tommy.
Steve Balsamo, in the original cast of the revival, scored a huge personal hit in his moving portrayal of 'Jesus of Nazareth' - The Daily Express hailed his big solo number 'Gethsemane' as "a genuine triumph of full-throated passion." Balsamo stayed in the musical for a year and is now recording his first solo album.
The current cast, who are expected to stay until the end of the run, features Glenn Carter ('Jesus of Nazareth'), Ramon Tikaram ('Judas Iscariot'), Joanna Ampril ('Mary Magdalene'), James Graeme ('Pontius Pilate') and Martin Callaghan ('King Herod')
Glenn Carter played 'Simon Zeolotes' in the first cast while Ramon Tikaram is best known for playing 'Ferdy' in the enormously successful cult television series This Life.
When Jesus Christ Superstar closes it will leave just three Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals still running in London's West End: Cats at the New London Theatre, The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre and Starlight Express at the Victoria Apollo. They will be joined by Lloyd Webber's latest, Whistle Down The Wind, on 1 July when it opens at the Aldwych Theatre.
Although it has not been confirmed, it is rumoured that the Broadway revival production of The King and I will open at the Lyceum Theatre after Superstar closes.
Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyceum Theatre previewed 12 November, opened 19 November 1996, closes 28 March 1998 after a run of 16 months.