We went to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" last night at the Washington Pavillion. I was both intrigued and dreading to see Ted Neeley in the main role, having seen the movie several times when it came out in 1973 and the play in Louisville, KY, when I was stationed at Fort Knox. Whether he played the main role in the play I saw I don't remember, but it was good enough that I bought a t-shirt. I was quite the fan of the play, the movie, and the music, singing one of the songs in our high school's Christmas concert.
This version was pretty good; Neeley did fine but is well beyond his prie and looks and sounds like it. He's still got his voice, but it's got a lot of miles showing. The youth and vigor of the cast made Neeley's stage presence look less like a meditative young Jesus than a tired older man. Still, the music still works, and this performance showed off a lot of the new stage techniques in lighting and other effects that enhanced the play.
As much as I hate to say it, though, Neeley should hand off the role to someone who can step up and remake that role.