During filming of Fiddler on the Roof, Barry Dennen, who played Pilate on the concept album, suggested to Norman Jewison that he should direct Jesus Christ Superstar as a film. After hearing the album, Jewison agreed.
- Ted Neeley as Jesus Christ
- Carl Anderson as Judas Iscariot
- Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene
- Barry Dennen as Pontius Pilate
- Bob Bingham as Caiaphas
- Kurt Yaghjian as Annas
- Josh Mostel as King Herod
- Philip Toubus as Peter
- Larry Marshall as Simon Zealotes
- Richard Orbach as John
- Robert LuPone as James
The cast consisted mostly of actors from the Broadway show, with Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson starring as Jesus and Judas respectively. Neeley had played a reporter and a leper in the Broadway version, and understudied the role of Jesus. Likewise, Anderson understudied Judas, but took over the role on Broadway and Los Angeles when Ben Vereen fell ill. Along with Dennen, Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene), and Bob Bingham (Caiaphas) reprised their Broadway roles in the film (Elliman, like Dennen, had also appeared on the original concept album). Originally, Jewison wanted Ian Gillan, who played Jesus on the concept album, to reprise the role for the film, but Gillan turned down the offer, deciding that he would please fans more by touring with Deep Purple.
Ever since the movie in 1973 Ted Neeley performed Jesus Christ Superstar more than 5000 times. On Tuesday 15 December 2015 I saw Mr. Neeley life, performing in the Netherlands.
|1973 Ted Neeley 2014|
Neeley says in interviews, asked he still loves his role: “Every time I hear those first sounds the intense feeling comes back to me. This is such an intellectual, spiritual and emotional role that I discover something new every time. It has drastically changed my life. I’m very grateful for that. “