Jesus Christ Superstar – Orpheum Theater – Minneapolis MN – January 21st 2020

“Jesus Christ Superstar” is currently celebrating it’s 50th anniversary and is touring the country.  We got to see and review the January 21, 2020 performance at the the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I’m just going to say it right now – we didn’t like it.

We had not seen the musical before, but learned a lot about it before seeing this production.  We were not expecting this. I’ll start with the good part of this.  I’d say that the singing was good.  It’s not our type of music, but nonetheless, the music was well performed.  That’s the only thing that I can say we enjoyed about this musical, unfortunately.
Before I get into what we didn’t care for, I have to say that we certainly are not alone in disliking this version of the musical.  This isn’t a case of a critic just hating on a particular musical because it’s not their type of thing.  We review a lot of performances and have to go into them with an open mind, remembering that even if we aren’t fans of something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. This is a completely different situation.
There’s no real order I can put this in, so here goes.  The choreography throughout is incredibly distracting.  Many people at the theater actually had to look at the ceiling during the choreography due to how erratic it was.  There was an inclusion of guitars, handheld microphones, and microphone stands that were really distracting. They just seemed like props.  Normally if someone was using such a thing on stage, I would feel it would blend in.  That wasn’t the case here.
Jesus had a man bun.  That’s just begging to be criticized.  Whether you like the look or not, it’s aggravating because it feels like they are just trying to hard.  One thing that was highly frustrating was that when the lashes were administered to Jesus, they used glitter.  Are you kidding me?  Glitter?  What?  While some may see this as innovative or a new way to present the musical, I just don’t understand why they would do that.  It’s like a stereotypical hipster version of the show.
Aside from the content, let’s get to the offstage elements of the night.  People were literally laughing at specific scenes.  It wasn’t well placed laughter either; it was that laughter where you know people are embarrassed for those onstage.  That’s not fun to experience.  We heard from a number of people that they would have left at intermission, but there was no intermission.  I honestly don’t know if that was a blessing in disguise.
One thing I feel we have to address is theater etiquette.  I know that it’s 2020 and things are different than years ago, but certain things still apply.  There were people on their phones throughout the show.  There was someone Snapchatting the entire time.  Many audience members were talking constantly.  Although we were not fans of the show, there are people that were and people pay good money to see it.  When you are at theater, please be considerate of those around you.
If I had to say one thing about this show, I would say not to go to it.  I very rarely say that about shows, but this one tops the list.  I actually did a lot of research prior to writing this review, checking out the tour in general to ensure I wasn’t just crazy and hating this musical.  I wasn’t. Many people were let down by the tour overall.  Maybe wait for another tour of it, as I have read this show has gone through a number of renditions in it’s fifty years.
Review Tracy Hansen / Kyle Hansen