Andrew Lloyd Webber restaged this musical, his first international hit, in 1996. The production was a critical and public triumph in both the London West End and on Broadway. The cast recording is complete and highlighted by the wild and unforgettable performance of pop rocker Alice Cooper as Pontius Pilate.
Jesus Christ has been very good to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Indeed, the Rock of Ages inspired one of the greatest stories ever sold and launched composer Lloyd Webber to musical theater superstardom; lyricist Tim Rice hasn't done too bad for himself, either. This Lloyd Webber-supervised "definitive" recording (undertaken in London in 1996) was finally released in America to coincide with the show's 2000 American revival on Broadway. Though oft touted by its creators as the first rock opera (a claim that might raise the hackles of fans of Pete Townshend's and the Who's
Tommy), Lloyd Webber's "rock" sensibilities often had a decided Brill Building bent that's dated about as well as Don Kirshner's leisure suits. Perhaps not surprisingly, this
Superstar redux leans more on the over-the-top operatics that characterize the composer's mega-hit
Phantom of the Opera than its original cast album and soundtrack album roots. While rocker-for-hire Alice Cooper takes a refreshing, if familiar, vaudevillian turn on "King Herod's Song," much of the remaining music has been rendered notably Big and Serious--just the sort of thunderous, orchestral pomp that has gained Lloyd Webber a worldwide following and a knighthood.