Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s plan to turn the final weeks of the life of Jesus Christ into a stage musical got off to a challenging start.
Unable to attract enough financial support to turn it around, the pair produced a double album, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, based on the concept. Buoyed by the title track and classic songs like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” (reworked from a song written for earlier music by Weber & Rice), “Superstar” was a hit, earning over 7 million copies. Sold and opened. The 1971 Stage Doors Show that, of course, became an international hit and a hit.
So when it came time to mount 50th anniversary production, producers went back to the “brown album” (hence the title because of its iconic brown cover) for inspiration. The result is a somewhat isolated, less dramatic version of the show that emphasizes classic songs and sounds somewhat like a cross between a stage musical and a concert.
“It’s nothing like any other production,” director Timothy Sheader told Bay Area Newsgroup in 2019. “It’s not the big stage one can expect. So, come with an open mind and try something different.”
The show, which premiered in London in 2016, was the last in the Bay Area two years earlier for a short stint at the Center for the Performing Arts in San Jose. Now BroadwaySF is to reopen San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater as part of the fall season.
description: through November 7; Taylor & Market Streets, San Francisco; $56-$256 (subject to change); 888-746-1799, Broadwaysf.com.