JESUS: A PASSION PLAY FOR AMERICANS (1969) – Happy Easter! Here’s a look at an experimental take on the story of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, all accompanied by music.
Before the concept album Jesus Christ Superstar became a stage production and before Godspell came this rock, improv jazz and blues version of the Passion of the Christ. Peter Ivers composed the curtain-to-curtain music, while director Timothy S. Mayer wrote the dialogue and lyrics, adapted from the King James Bible version of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The production hit the stage in July of 1969 as Jesus: A Passion Play for Cambridge, and this 1970 filmed version – completed over the course of four days – was performed on the roof and interior of an abandoned Boston warehouse formerly used by the Audiovox Corporation. Andreas Teuber starred as Jesus in this hour and a half presentation which saw most of the performers decked out in casual modern clothing.
The Times described Teuber as “a young actor with a strong, sensitive face and rich voice, who, in the main, brought intelligence and sensitivity to the role of Jesus, a part not without pitfalls for the unwary actor.”
Laura Esterman portrayed Mary Magdalene in Jesus: A Passion Play for Americans, with Steve Kaplan as Lazarus and India’s Asha Puthil as Salome.
Other touches were Pontius Pilate in a business suit while the Apostles wear blue jeans, a Times Square newspaper barker introducing the Acts and a televised trial for Jesus – complete with news commentators and cameras.
Songs included Gentle Jesus, Confession, Knight of the Blue Communion, Lord God Love and a rock version of The Lord’s Prayer. This production, which is obviously not for all tastes, was first aired on N.E.T. Playhouse on Good Friday, March 26th, 1970.
Andreas Teuber had also starred as Timothy Mayer’s Jesus back in July 1969 when this experimental production was first staged at Harvard’s Agassiz Theatre.
The Harvard Crimson effusively praised his performance – “… it is Teuber himself who puts the stigma of ultimate mystery on the figure of Jesus. An actor of extraordinary range, his performance is theatrically protean. Teuber’s Christ is by turns a performer, a teacher, an advocate, as well as man and God. Playing always to an audience among the other characters–whether to his disciples, his accusers, or the crowd at large–he reserves the essential personality of Christ himself.”
Regarding the music, the Crimson described it as “electric and eclectic.”
Timothy S. Mayer and Peter Ivers also collaborated on Alladin in Three Acts.
FOR ONE OF MY PREVIOUS EASTER BLOG POSTS – A REVIEW OF THE QUEST OF SETH FOR THE OIL OF LIFE – CLICK HERE.
36 responses to “JESUS: A PASSION PLAY FOR AMERICANS (1969)”
Have you seen Jesus Revolution? I’m going to see it Tuesday…
I have not seen it, but I keep hearing all kinds of good things about it. I hope you enjoy it!
Happy Easter,dear Ballader!🖐️☺️🕊️
Thank you! Same to you!
Happy Easter!! 🥰❤️🌹
Thank you very much! Happy Easter to you, too!
Thank you infinitely from my heart!! ❤️
You are more than welcome!
Sounds good! Well shared. Happy Easter.😇
Thank you so much Always good to hear from you! Happy Easter!
How are you? Good ?
Yes, how about you?
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Too many for me to imitate.
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I appreciate a good laugh!
😄😄😁😁😁😁😁thirty two all out
Happy Easter !
Thank you! Same to you!
Happy Easter to you as well!
Reblogged this on El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso.
Thank you, sir! Happy Easter!
Anytime. Happy Easter
Same to you!