August 13, 2006 was a wonderful evening for JCS fans and friends.  A benefit featuring the reunion of the original stars from the JCS film (Ted, Yvonne, Barry), the original Broadway production (Ben Vereen), the AD Anniversary Tour (Larry Friedman, Chris Carey, Scott Spalding), and new friends (Jack Black, Clint Holmes), who, along with the world-famous Agape Church Choir (which I had the great fortune of singing with in the show) and an ensemble of extremely talented actor/singers, put together a FABULOUS evening of theatre in about 3 weeks (2 after casting - and with only 5 actual rehearsals)!  The evening benefited YouTHeatre - America! and The Ricardo Montalban Foundation, and was lovingly dedicated to Carl Anderson.  An AMAZING time was had by all!  It was the culmination of all things bright and beautiful for Jesus Christ Superstar.  Have a look at what a special evening it was below:

UPDATE:  10/22/08

Today a list member at FTNL found this treasure on YouTUBE. The video was made partially during the Benefit and rehearsals, and Barry and Jenean filmed their portion a few weeks after the event. It was posted on the YouTube public website 5 days ago, and it brings back some beautiful memories for me (and, no doubt, for anyone else who was part of this event), as well as doing a great job of advertising YouTHeatre - America!, which is truly one of our greatest treasures!  Enjoy:




This two-sided postcard below is from the Benefit production office, courtesy of Jenean Bugiada
(  Thanks, Jenean!

Flyer from YTA Site:



Sunday, August 13, 2006 at 8:00 PM
Ricardo Montalban Theatre
1615 North Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 462-6666
E-Mail: youtheatream@
Map & Directions

Price range: $110.00 to $520.00

Tickets for this event are not yet on sale.
Please try again later.

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LATIMES - 8/15/06

Susan Horlick (Da:S) ( found this:,0,4792143.story?coll=cl-stage-features

August 15, 2006


'Jesus Christ' returns, and the faithful say amen

Pricey tickets and a hot theater don't deter fans from a farewell revival with the '73 film's stars.


Jack Black as Herod

(Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times)

Ted Neeley reprises the role of Jesus

(Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times '

By Greg Braxton, Times Staff Writer

The celebrity-heavy audience gathered in a toasty theater at Hollywood and Vine was overcome Sunday by its passion for the Christ — as well as its passion for the Mary Magdalene and the 12 disciples. It even showed its passion for the Judas.

An eclectic mix of baby boomers, tweens, Hollywood heavyweights (DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harrison Ford) and lightweights (reality show terror Danny Bonaduce) descended upon the Ricardo Montalban Theatre to worship the one-night concert staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." The near-religious fervor of the attendees was stoked by the reunion of three stars from the 1973 film version — Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen — as well as appearances by Ben Vereen and a wicked cameo by Jack Black as King Herod.

Even the lack of air conditioning (the theater has been largely dark for the last few years), high ticket prices ($110 to $520) and the advanced age of the show's veterans could not wither the response of the faithful, who showered the performers with continuous rapturous ovations.

The staging of the rock opera, which chronicles the last days of Jesus, was a benefit for the Ricardo Montalban Foundation and YouTHeatre-America!, a nonprofit national theater arts program for young people. The performance was dedicated to Carl Anderson, who had played Judas in the film version and served as the Broadway understudy for Vereen, who originated the role on stage. Anderson died of leukemia in 2004.

Many in the audience were devotees of the score, considered to be one of the most accomplished by Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, and the film, which starred Neeley as Jesus, Elliman as Mary Magdalene and Dennen as Pontius Pilate. Some fans clutched weathered copies of the album soundtrack.

Though the movie, directed by Norman Jewison, was not a big hit when it was first released, it has developed a loyal following, and Neeley and other cast members have appeared in numerous national touring versions. Sunday's performance kicks off a national farewell tour that will include stops in Thousand Oaks and Cerritos in 2007.

"I'm just a total freak for 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' " said writer-producer Nicole Yorkin, who bought tickets weeks ago. As a teenager, she listened to the original album and has now swept up her two young children in her "Superstar" mania.

When Neeley, Elliman, Dennen and Vereen made their first joint appearance to the climatic chords of the show's overture, the whooping standing ovation drowned out the musicians stationed at the rear of the stage.

Some audience members pumped their fists and screamed as if the Rolling Stones had just walked into the auditorium. Neeley, wearing a white shirt, white slacks and a white coat that stretched down to his heels, raised his arms in Christ-like fashion and smiled warmly.

The performers, accompanied by a large ensemble of dancers and singers, stalked the scaffolding and elevated catwalks of the barebones set. Vereen, who had flown in from Massachusetts just days before, brought a guttural intensity to his portrayal of Judas, breaking into a dance during the show's title number. Elliman exhibited a soothing unease during "I Don't Know How to Love Him," the musical's best-known hit.

Unquestionably one of the evening's biggest draws, Black expectedly brought the house down when he emerged with a crown and sunglasses from a fog-shrouded trapdoor. With his signature raised eyebrow and mischievous smile, he danced and vamped through the vaudevillian "King Herod's Song," in which the king taunts the captured Jesus.

But it was the 62-year-old Neeley who earned one of the biggest ovations with his rendition of "Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)," in which Jesus transitions from fear to angry resignation as he accepts his fate. Closing his eyes, Neeley, whose hair is only slightly shorter than it was in the film, hit piercing high notes as he screamed, "All right, I'll die!"

Even audience members who were not as familiar with the show appeared to become true believers during the two-hour staging. Actress Tracie Thoms ("Rent," "Cold Case") continually danced in her seat.

"There's only one word for this," Thoms said after the show. " 'Great.' This was great."

TVJUNKIE - 8/14/06

Nidsy (niro_roni@yahoo. com) found this:

Monday, August 14, 2006

One Night Stand

I had a one night stand last night. It was planned and paid for, but it was the best 2-hours I've had in a long, long time.

Jesus Christ Superstar was performed live at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood, California last night. This was a one night only engagement made extra special and unforgettable not only because a) it's JCS, yo. I'm nothing if not a JCS fanatic; b) the production was pulled together in 3-weeks, and c) The Cast was so .. very .. special. The universe aligned and brought us Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen reprising their roles as Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Pontius Pilate respectively. Ben Vereen flew in from the East coast to revive his original Broadway interpretation of Judas for this production, and Clint Holmes came in from Vegas to perform as Simon Zealotes. The extra special guest of the night had to be Jack Black as King Herod. A small role which always manages to steal the show in every version I've seen - even more so with Jack Black who was apparently born to play this role.

The familiar strains of the Overture began and two screens at the sides of the stage switched from the JCS logo to the opening sequence from the film with the bus driving through the desert. As Heaven On Their Minds began and Ben Vereen stepped out on stage .. I got chills. I love Ben Vereen, I truly do, and the fact that he originated the role of Judas in JCS on Broadway is significant. But as far as Judas goes .. no one does Judas like Carl Anderson did for me. I remember seeing the JCS production in 1995 which toured with Neeley and Anderson as well as Dennis DeYoung as Pilate. Anderson was ... perfect. (But, Ben rocked! I swear.) As we moved into What's The Buzz? and Strange Thing Mystifying, Neeley's voice got steadier, Vereen got looser and everything started clicking.

Then came Everything's Alright. Seriously? I got chills typing that. Yvonne Elliman was amazing. There are no words. Her voice was so rich and full .. so much better than on the soundtrack recording that lives in my CD player. She finished the song to a standing ovation. (I should mention that both Neeley and Vereen had received standing o's by this point as well.)

This Jesus Must Die brought out Caiaphas (played by Chris Carey) and Annas (Larry Friedman). Again. WOW. Vocally, Carey was CRAZY good. The deep bass of his voice BOOMED in the theatre and people around us literally gasped at his flawless delivery. Friedman could have been Kurt Yaghjian, he sounded that similar. Again, my mind was buzzing with the awe that this could have been pulled off in 3-weeks.

Hosanna gives us the cheery Company giving it their all and leading us into Simon Zealotes (Clint Holmes). Now, I've never seen Holmes in Vegas, but crikey! That man can sing. Holmes gave an all out performance and rocked the house. By this time we're at Poor Jerusalem, and Neeley is firing on all cylinders. Things get toned down for Pilate's Dream and .. once again .. the JCS veterans show their stuff with Barry Dennen bringing down the house with his vocals.

The Temple brings back the video screens with clips from the film as the Company tells us what they wanna sell us and how we won't be sorry .. until Jesus comes in and gives them all the boot. Neeley's trademark wail brought hoops and hollers from the crowd. Yvonne comes back out and sings I Don't Know How To Love Him and I turned to PB who attended the show with me, and said "she made me cry". She made PB cry, too. Seriously, there are so many ways to fuck that song up, but she sings it with so much heart, soul and compassion .. it's indescribable.

Vereen tells us he's Damned For All Time before heading off to the garden for a classic moment where Jesus and all the Apostles settle down on the stage to give us the classic pose from The Last Supper (if I hadn't been so lost in this show, I would have snapped a picture since there didn't seem to be any rules against photography at the show). Gethsemane was probably Neeley's best song of the night. He owned that moment. He owned the crowd. Fucking brilliant.

The timing of The Arrest seemed a little off, but not so much that I cared because .. first of all it gives me my 'jaded faded faded jaded jaded mandarin' moment, and then it leads right into Peter's Denial when I finally got to hear Doug Crawford solo as Peter. To see Doug up there with people I've woken up with almost every morning (The JCS soundtrack is my weekday alarm) warmed my heart and I was so happy for him.

Pilate and Christ played out perfectly. And I found myself, once again, marveling at Dennen's voice. I also was thankful that Neeley has reasonably good hair, since the "soldiers" hanging on to him kept grabbing him by the hair and roughing him up. Part of me wanted to say "Hey! Do you KNOW who you are manhandling there?" Heh.

You know what comes next, right? Yeah. Herod.

King Herod emerges from a trap door in the center of the stage. Jack Black with his Burger King looking crown on knocked this performance out of the damn park. Hell. He knocked it out of the State. Everything was perfect. His entrance .. his voice .. his campiness factor .. his interaction with the Company members who carried him around on his bench .. his interaction with Jesus (which, again made me think "stop throwing bread at Ted Neeley!") Really. I have a whole new respect for Jack Black. Maybe the part and he were perfect for each other and something like this will never happen again? I dunno. But I, once again, found myself sorry I didn't snap a picture or two instead of being so absorbed by the performances.

Could We Start Again Please? gave me the chance to lose myself in Doug singing a duet with Yvonne Elliman. Seriously, folks. That is such a gift. Doug sounded great and I found myself being envious of the fact that Yvonne was cuddling up to him. Not that I was jealous of HER, I was jealous of DOUG! Lucky bastard. Yvonne was so obviously having a good time at this show (how could she not - she did get to snuggle hunk-a-licious Dougie), but seriously, she was just .. perfect. Amazing.

Judas' Death brought us a little too much smoke effect (haha), then to the Trial Before Pilate (Dennen stayed consistent with outstanding vocals) and .. hell yeah ..


Vereen? Kicked .. ASS. I think this particular piece was the one he was most comfortable with. He sang, he danced, he moved, he grooved, he blew me away. It was too much fun.

One thing I wish they would have used the screens for was the clips used in the film of Christ being crucified. Visually, it's stunning, and would have played well instead of just darkness during that segment. The theatre was very small, so there was one set and a lot of different uses for different sections of the set. They obviously weren't going to bring a cross in like they've done for some of the bigger productions, so the screen shots would have worked perfectly.

The crowd, while not very animated was definitely appreciative. There were a lot of friends and industry types there (I saw Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Mark Harmon, Wayne Brady and a few familiar faces that I couldn't put names to. I know! ME!) The guy seated next to me (Eli) was fantastic fun to be next to because he was equally as blown away at the opportunity to see this production with so many of the original film cast. The three of us (me, PB and Eli) were singing (quietly) through the whole show - giddy with the absolute JOY of seeing this show with this cast. I would have loved to have seen Anderson in the role of Judas one more time, but he passed away in 2004. The performance last night was dedicated to his honor. And honor him they did.

I know a lot of people don't "get" Jesus Christ Superstar. Where one person sees blasphemy, another sees an amazing work of art. Where one person sees a lighthearted hippy romp, another sees an important social commentary.

In the end ....

Tickets to JCS:                         $530.00
Parking:                                    $10.00
Commemorative Program:         $20.00
Commemorative T-Shirt:           $20.00
Experiencing JCS with
  this cast?                               Priceless


By the way. Neeley is doing what will apparently be his last foray on the road as Jesus in JCS starting September, 2006. Judas will be played by Corey Glover of Living Colour.


I hate you. I HATE YOU!! Waaaa! So fracking jealous.

We may have discussed it in the past, but I was at several of the 1995 tour shows. I adore Carl Anderson (RIP) and have a couple of his cds. Just love his style and tone. He should have had a huge career. Dennis De Young was fantastic as Pilate - his voice and theatrical style was just perfect for the part. In fact, "Pilate's Dream" is on his "10 On Broadway" cd.

Sigh. Stop making me miss L.A.

Gee, thanks for sharing those moments.
Made me feel like I was there watching too.
I just love and admire Ted Neeley! Most especially in this signature role.
Unfortunately I'm all the way in Europe and might not have the chance of seeing any of his farewell JCS tour--- sigh.




                                                          My unexpected claim to "fame".

Thanks to Da:S ( for finding and posting these articles!

http://www.calendar stage/cl- et-jesus12aug12, 0,7455887. story?coll= cl-stage- features

August 12, 2006

It's the final curtain call for 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

*But before the farewell tour kicks off Sept.8, a benefit reunion concert version will shake things up Sunday.

(California Youth Theatre)
By Lynne Heffley, Times Staff Writer
"Well, I think I've been doing it for 2,000 years now," Ted Neeley says by phone in a warm Texas drawl. "But I have never once walked on a stage and not felt like it was the very first time."

Neeley is referring to his title role in the 1973 film "Jesus Christ Superstar" and in the many subsequent theater productions of the seminal Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera.

But now the actor is ready to hang up his flowing robe and crown of thorns. At 62, he will play his signature role for the last time, in a national "farewell tour" of the show, beginning Sept. 8 at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts in New York.

First, though, he'll join Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen (the film and original Broadway show's Mary Magdalene and Pontius Pilate) in a benefit concert version of "Superstar" on Sunday at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.

Other headliners are "School of Rock's" Jack Black as King Herod, Clint Holmes as Simon Zealotes and the Broadway show's original Judas, Ben Vereen. (Carl Anderson, who played Judas in the film version, died in 2004.)

"Superstar," which began as a concept album before becoming a stage and film musical, is considered by many to be Lloyd Webber and Rice's best collaborative effort.

"There's something about this piece and what it represents that keeps it fresh and alive," Neeley says.

The one-time event on Sunday was pulled together scant weeks ago, as a benefit for YouTHeatre-America!, a newly formed nonprofit national theater arts program for young people founded by Jack Nakano, artistic director emeritus of the California Youth Theatre. Proceeds will also benefit the Ricardo Montalban Foundation.

Neeley couldn't pass up a chance to reunite with former cast members and, he said, to pay tribute to Nakano, whom he met 30 years ago when he, Anderson and Elliman agreed to reprise their film roles for Nakano's Santa Barbara-based Youth Theatre Productions alongside student actors.

That 1976 alfresco production ran for a month and helped Nakano launch CYT — a nonprofit theater arts training program for ages 12 to 21 that is now based at the New Ivar Theatre in Hollywood.

Among Nakano's alums are Black, Anthony Edwards and Eric Stoltz. The new program, with its national focus, would operate separately from CYT.

"We were so excited about having the opportunity to help a youth organization provide access to kids to get into theater," Neeley said, referring to the 1976 production. "We had a beautiful time doing it."

With other CYT veterans and original cast members from the film and Broadway show, Sunday's concert version of the musical, depicting Jesus' final days, will be directed by program graduate Gary Goddard, co-founder of Landmark Entertainment Group, now head of Gary Goddard Entertainment.

Goddard, who staged the 1976 show and a reprise of that production with Neeley in 1977, had been an enthusiastic participant in the Santa Barbara program from fourth grade through high school. He and Forbes Candlish, another CYT alum, are co-producing the concert.

"I've always loved the show," Goddard said. "This is a classic piece of theater that kind of defines the whole idea of rock opera."

In recent years, Goddard said, he had been talking to the film's lead actors about a reunion show. When he heard of Nakano's newest venture, he contacted Neeley, Dennen and Elliman, who signed on immediately.

"It's been so long," Elliman commented by phone from her home in Hawaii. "You think you're over it, but it's not true."

Black got involved because of his participation in CYT, "and then Ben Vereen changed his schedule so he could do it," Goddard noted, "so it's become this amazing reunion and celebration. "

With CYT in the hands of his successor, Edward Wilson, former artistic director of Britain's National Youth Theatre, Nakano is looking toward creating a different kind of program.

YouTHeatre America would help establish and complement a network of similar programs across the country. It would also serve as a clearinghouse for technical and artistic resources and advice, Nakano said.

Nakano, 73, is "a genuine, loving human being who wants to help people get involved in theater," Neeley said.

"I think he'll always remain involved in some way. It's in his blood."

'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Where: Ricardo Montalban Theatre, 1615 N. Vine St., Hollywood

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Price: $110 to $520

Contact: (323) 462-6666, (800) 595-4TIX.

http://www.theaterm content/news/ cfm/story/ 8739

L.A.'s Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert to Star Neeley, Dennen, Elliman, Holmes, Vereen, and Black


Ted Neeley in the film version of
Jesus Christ Superstar.

Ted Neeley, Barry Dennen, Yvonne Elliman, Clint Holmes, Ben Vereen, and film star Jack Black will headline a special concert performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles on August 13. Additional casting will be announced shortly. Proceeds from the evening will benefit YouTHeatre America and the Ricardo Montalban Foundation.

The show will be directed by Gary Goodard, with musical direction by Craig Barna. Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of the last seven days of Christ's life; it began life as a concept album and opened on Broadway in 1971, where it ran for two years. The show received five Tony Award nominations and earned Lloyd-Webber a Drama Desk Award as "Most Promising Composer."

Neeley will play the title role, as he did in the 1973 film. Dennen and Elliman will reprise the roles of Pontius Pilate and Mary Magdalene, which they played on Broadway and in the 1973 film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Holmes, the popular singer and Las Vegas entertainer, will play Simon Zealotes. Vereen will play Judas Iscariot, as he did in the original Broadway production. Black will play King Herod; his many film credits include the current release, Nacho Libre, as well as School of Rock, King Kong, and High Fidelity. He is an alumnus of YouTHeatre.

For tickets and other information, call 323-462-6666 or 1-800-595-4TIX, or email youtheatream@

Theater News  Aug 1, 2006

http://www.playbill .com/news/ article/101185. html

Original Stars of "Jesus Christ 
Superstar" Film to Join Jack Black for 
Reunion Concert

By Andrew Gans
01 Aug 2006

Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen, who played, respectively, Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Pontius Pilate in the film of "Jesus Christ Superstar" will reunite for a benefit concert of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical.

The Aug. 13 concert will be held at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre and will also feature the talents of Ben Vereen as Judas Iscariot, Clint Holmes as Simon Zealotes and screen star Jack Black as King Herod. Show time is 8 PM.

All proceeds from the one-night-only event will benefit Youtheatre America and The Ricardo Montalban Foundation.

Tickets, priced $110-$520, are available by calling (323) 462-6666. The Ricardo Montalban Theatre is located in Hollywood, CA at 1615 Vine Street.

For more information visit www.youtheatreameri

My friend Brian found this one:

Original Stars of "Jesus Christ Superstar" Join Jack Black for Aug. 13 Reunion Concert

By Andrew Gans
13 Aug 2006

Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen, who played, respectively, Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Pontius Pilate in the film of "Jesus Christ Superstar" reunite Aug. 13 for a benefit concert of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical.

The concert is being held at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre and also features the talents of Ben Vereen as Judas Iscariot, Clint Holmes as Simon Zealotes and screen star Jack Black as King Herod. Show time is 8 PM.

All proceeds from the one-night-only event will benefit Youtheatre America and The Ricardo Montalban Foundation.

Tickets, priced $110-$520, are available by calling (323) 462-6666. The Ricardo Montalban Theatre is located in Hollywood, CA at 1615 Vine Street.

For more information visit

Entertainment industry news and reviews -

Posted: Wed., Aug. 2, 2006, 10:00pm PT
'Superstar' turn for Black
Thesp to star in Webber-Rice tuner for benefit


Jack Black

Jack Black will guest as King Herod when the original stars of "Jesus Christ Superstar" from stage and in film reprise their roles for a benefit performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice tuner.

Ted Neeley (Jesus), Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene), Barry Dennen (Pontius Pilate) and Ben Vereen (Judas Iscariot) will star in "Superstar" on Aug. 13 at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Hollywood. Clint Holmes, Chris Carey and Larry Friedman will also appear.

Show is a benefit for YouTHeatre America, of which Black is an alum. Troikastar Entertainment will take "Jesus Christ Superstar," starring Neeley, on the road beginning Sept. 12 in Buffalo.

Company is having at open casting call at 10 a.m. today for the chorus of the Hollywood show.

Date in print: Thurs., Aug. 3, 2006, Los Angeles

Home page.

Jack Black has signed on to play Biblical bad guy King Herod in a stage reunion of the cast of 1973 movie musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
02/08/2006 - 12:50:57 PM

Black to join one-off Jesus Christ Superstar show 

Jack Black has signed on to play Biblical bad guy King Herod in a stage reunion of the cast of 1973 movie musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

The original stars of the film, Ted Neeley and Yvonne Elliman, will team up with castmates for the August 13 benefit show in Hollywood.

Black will replace Josh Mostel as Herod, while song and dance legend Ben Vereen will portray Judas Iscariot, a role that won him a Tony nomination in the Broadway, New York show. Carl Anderson played Judas in Norman Jewison's film version.


http://www.slashfil php/200608020149 40310

blogging the reel world

Jack Black is Jesus Christ

Nacho Libre star Jack Black has signed on to star in a stage reunion of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Black will play villain Guy King Herod in a reunion of the 1973 cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical. Ted Neeley, Barry Dennen, Yvonne Elliman, Clint Holmes, Ben Vereenwill also be part of the August 13th benefit show at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. Black is replacing Josh Mostel as Herod.

The show will be directed by Gary Goodard, with musical direction by Craig Barna

Proceeds from the evening will benefit YouTHeatre America and the Ricardo Montalban Foundation.

I got this one (below) in my e-mail on Wednesday, 8/2/06:

CELEBRITY NOOZ August 3, 2006
Jack Black To Join 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Reunion...

Jack Black has signed on to play Biblical bad guy King Herod in a stage reunion of the cast of 1973 movie musical 'Jesus Christ Superstar.' The original stars of the film, Ted Neeley and Yvonne Elliman, will team up with cast mates for the August 13 benefit show in Hollywood. Jack is replacing Josh Mostel as Herod, while song and dance legend Ben Vereen will portray Judas Iscariot, a role that won him a Tony nomination in the Broadway show. Carl Anderson played Judas in Norman Jewison's film version.

oesn't it seem appropriate, as Carl was originally Ben's understudy?)!

As scooped initially on Ted's list by Jenean Bugiada ( 7/26:

August 13, 2006 - 8PM  --- One night only! Ricardo Montalban Theatre
in Hollywood.

Ted Neeley

Yvonne Elliman

Barry Dennen (playing Pilate this time!)

Jack Black (playing Herod)

are all "for sure" signed on!

Benefit concert performance of JCS "Youth Theatre America" and "Ricardo Montalban Foundation"

Gary Goddard will direct. Forbes Candish will produce. 

None of the above folks will be with Ted on tour.

They are also trying to get Ben Vereen as Judas!

Jenean Bugiada

and updated from the Barry Dennen website today (7/29) by Da:S ( 

After months of discussion and speculation about the Last Supper Tour, it has emerged as a one-night-only concert to benefit the Youth Theatre of America that will take place on August 13th (just a couple of weeks away) at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles.

Ted Neeley will take a brief break from working on his Farewell Tour of JCS to perform as Jesus with Yvonne Elliman as Mary and yes, Barry will reprise his best-known role as Pilate! Jack Black is scheduled to perform the part of Herod.
The role of Judas has yet to be settled but rumour has it the producer, Gary Goddard is trying to get Ben Vereen  (NOTE ON THIS: according to the Box Office, Ben Vereen has been contacted, but things are still pending at this time) who played Judas in the original Broadway show or Murray Head from the original concept album.

No word on when tickets will go on sale yet, but they will probably be sold via Nosotros, the charitable organization founded by Ricardo Montalban. As soon as we get more info, it'll be posted here.

A touring production with a different cast may be in the works for the fall.


TICKET INFORMATION  (I got this info last night from the head of the Box Office, and got the okay to post it today):

Tickets are not too bad - but with privileges it's pretty astronomical.  The low price is $110.00.  And there are only 200 of those tickets.  The Ricardo Montalban only holds about 1,200 seats total, but I think they said there are 1,000 tickets being sold.  The next price up is $265.00, and top price is $520.00.  HOWEVER, if you want a cast meet and greet - the only way to do this is buy making a donation on top of your ticket.  So the ticket with meet and greet is $1,000.00ERGO - if you're going to meet Ted - it doesn't sound likelyAt least not easily anyway.  

The box office is not selling tickets.

Tickets will go on sale Sunday, 7/30/06 at 10AM - PACIFIC TIME (i.e. - East Coasters - it's 1PM our time).  You can purchase them one of two ways:
1.  ONLINE at:  www.youththeatreame rica.tix. com   (it's not listed on their site yet)
2.  PHONE:  800-595-4TIX  
The Ricardo Montalban Theatre info:
1615 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 462-6666
 But don't call the Box Office.
And this will be in tomorrow's LA paper.


PICTURES (online site pics of the Benefit):

Found by Veth Javier (

All photos by Roger Karnbad


Harrison Ford & daughter Georgia

Geena Davis

Valerie Harper & daughter Christina

Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks) & wife Marilyn

Tomo Yebisu (owner of Lending Tree) & Kerin Hayden

Danny Bonaduce
(Partridge Family) & family


Laila Ali

Katie Barbieri

E G Daily

Kerri Reid

Yeardley Smith

Mark Harmon, wife Pam Dawber, mother Elyse Knox & son Sean Harmon

We heard that Steven Spielberg was there, and read that Janet Jackson came.  We also heard that Tim Rice bought tickets, but may have sent a rep. None of us saw these three folks, though.



Found by Tina Henley (

Photos by Richard Swaiden, Ron Galella and Ron Wolfson        


Barry Dennen, Yvonne Elliman, Ted & Ben Vereen

Ted, Bryan Singer (ensemble) & Yvonne

Gary Goddard (Director), Bryan Singer & Yvonne

Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Barry, Gary & Ted

Ted, Bryan Singer, Yvonne, & Gary

Ted, Bryan Singer, &  Yvonne

Barry, Gary & Ted

Yvonne & Ted

Barry, Ted & Ben

Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Barry, Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Gary, Barry, Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Gary, Barry, Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Gary. Ted, & JCS cast members (lft. to rt.): Anthony Grant, Michael Alden, Seana Harris, Ethan Wilcox, Gabrielle Hatchett, Renee Cohen & Richard Swaiden

Ted, Gary, Jack Nakano (YTA) & the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar

More outside/lobby/VIP party shots from Celebrity (see link above):


Barry & Yvonne

Ben & Yvonne


Barry, Gary & Yvonne

Gary, Barry, Yvonne, Ted & Ben

Bryan Singer (ensemble)

Clint Holmes (Simon)


Jack Black (Herod)

Jack Black and Jack Nakano (YTA)

Scott Weintraub (Ensemble), Jack Black & Jack Nakano




Renee Cohen

Barry, Yvonne & Ben

Gary, Barry, Yvonne, Ted & Ben




What's The Buzz (?)

Everything's Alright

Everything's Alright

Everything's Alright

Everything's Alright

Everything's Alright

Everything's Alright

Strange Thing Mystifying




Poor Jerusalem

Poor Jerusalem

Poor Jerusalem

The Temple

The Leppers

The Leppers

I Don't Know How To Love Him

I Don't Know How To Love Him

I Don't Know How To Love Him

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

The Last Supper





The Arrest

The Arrest

The Last Supper

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Herod's Song

Trial Before Pilate

Trial Before Pilate

Curtain Call

Curtain Call

Curtain Call

Curtain Call

Curtain Call


PHOTO COVERAGE ON BROADWAYWORLD.COM: viewcolumn. cfm?colid= 11647

Photo Coverage: Jesus Christ Superstar--Live in Concert

Monday, August 21, 2006; Posted: 1:00 PM - by BWW News Desk

A benefit reunion concert of Jesus Christ Superstar, held on Sunday, August 13th at 8 PM at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre (1615 N. Vine St.) in Hollywood, was a great success, selling out all of the theatre's almost one thousand seats. In attendance for the landmark Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera were the likes of Harrison Ford, Janet Jackson, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tracie Thoms, Geena Davis, Wayne Brady, Yeardley Smith, Bryan Singer and Danny Bonaduce.

The stars from the film version of the musical--Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman, and Barry Dennen-- starred in the concert, which benefited YouTheatre America! and the Ricardo Montalban Foundation. Neeley played Jesus in the 1973 Norman Jewison film adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar, while Elliman (who starred in the original Broadway production) played Mary Magdalene and Dennen was seen as Pontius Pilate. For the reunion concert, they were by Ben Vereen as Judas Iscariot, Clint Holmes as Simon Zealotes and film star Jack Black (Nacho Libre, King Kong) as King Herod. Vereen received a Tony nomination for creating the role of Judas on Broadway. Garry Goddard directed the concert.

The film version of Jesus Christ Superstar, which also starred Carl Anderson as Judas, Larry Marshall as Simon Zealotes and Josh Mostel as King Herod, tells of the last few weeks in the life of Jesus Christ to a pulsing rock operatic score (music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Rice). The score includes the title song, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," "Everything's Alright," and "Gethsemane." Jesus Christ Superstar, after a hit London run, ran on Broadway for 711 performances after opening on October 12th, 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre.

Photos provided by Garry Goddard Entertainment (1-6, 13, 15, 17, 20-22: Gil Smith; 8 and 10: Taylor Jeffs; 7, 9, 11, 14, 16 and 18: Daniel Tam-Lung; 19: Bob Young)

Ted Neeley

Ben Vereen
Heaven On Their Minds)

Clint Holmes and company (Simon Zealotes)

Clint Holmes

Barry Dennen

Richard Molinare and
Ted Neeley

Jack Black

Jack Black

Ben Vereen

Ben Vereen (Superstar)

Ted Neeley

Ted Neeley

Ted Neeley and company (The Last Supper)

Ben Vereen and Ted Neeley

curtain call

Director Gary Goddard, Barry Dennen, Ted Neeley, and Ben Vereen

Barry Dennen and producer Forbes Candlish

Barry Dennen, Yvonne Elliman, Ted Neeley and Ben Vereen


Reader Feedback - 5 Replies

by theaterdude87 @ 08/21/06, 03:27:02 PM

this looked quite amazing. wish i could have seen it.

Ted Neeley...
by SorryGrateful @ 08/22/06, 10:05:22 AM

still looks like Jesus. Weird.

Wish I Were There!
by Eldemila @ 08/22/06, 10:44:31 AM

I would have given anything to see this. This is my favorite Broadway Musical. I saw the movie 13 times when it came out. I've seen the play about 5 times. Saw it a few years ago when it came to my area and Ted Neeley played Jesus - after all these years, he still had me tingling! All those who saw it, I envy you!!!

It Was an AMAZING Evening!
by CVActor1 @ 08/22/06, 11:33:49 AM

... and I'm VERY proud that I was part of it! :-))))

Ted Neeley
by Jillonne @ 08/22/06, 02:48:19 PM

Hi all! I am a member of Ted Neeley's Yahoo group and I want to say that I wish I had been able to attend this reunion! I absolutely have adored the movie since its release - I can't begin to count how many times I have seen it - I have been a member of Mr. Neeley's Fan Club - and saw him twice when he traveled on tour with JCS, once in Champaign, IL and once in Evansville, IN - his talents are one of a kind and I actually got to speak with him, hug him and he signed a personalized autograph to me on one of my programs that I will cherish always! I remember him telling me that someone should write a song for my name because it is so unique! That meant so much to me! He is truly a great man.



Scott Spalding was an ensemble cast member in the Benefit performance, as well as a cast member of the AD Tour.  He's a really nice guy, and was a lot of fun to work with!  Enjoy his reminisces below:


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

JCS Day Five: Show Time!

Hallelujah, we made it! It was a hell of a task, but we pulled off a high quality production in only four and a half days of staging! It's a miracle this thing came together, considering the short time frame and the fact we never had the full cast together until the dress rehearsal on the afternoon of the performance. Ah, you gotta love show biz.

Although the performance was not perfect (it never is), the audience was spectacular and they cheered and screamed throughout the show. We spotted a few celebs in the house, including Harrison Ford, Geena Davis, Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber, and Wayne Brady among others. There were also a few of the TEDHEADS, fans of Ted's and the show. They did a great job of pumping up the crowd.

The show was recorded on HD for possible release on TV or DVD. I do hope something comes of it because I would love to see how it looked. Gary Goddard performed an amazing miracle of getting this production together in just a few weeks. It sure is exciting to work with some of the best artists in the business.

After party at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre

After the show, there was a huge party upstairs in the theater for the cast and crew and the VIPs who had shelled out all this money for the charity. I learned there were more than 70 VIP tickets that sold for $1000 each. By the end of the evening when most folks had left, I was feeling tired and I knew I had to get up early to teach English at UCLA so I decided to say my goodbyes. Then our director Gary invited all the cast over to his Beverly Hills home to continue the party! Oh god, I was tired but I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that so I went and it was very fun. He has a very lovely home with a large living room and a patio and pool, perfect for entertaining.

The Neeley family arrived after posing for hundreds of photos at the theater. Ted is so good about that. I remember our tour bus waiting for hours after each show until he finished signing autographs and talking with his fans. He's such a generous and thoughtful man. Jack Black is also a really cool guy and very good to his fans: he signed hundreds of autographs and took dozens of pictures.

Jack Black and me

It was great to catch up with Ted's lovely wife Leeyan and his charming kids Tessa and Zachariah. I couldn't believe that the family remembered me, especially the kids. I hadn't seen them in ten years. Tessa has grown into a stunning young woman, and Zach is so big! I didn't even recognize him at first. The last time I saw him, he was a little nine-year-old kid playing with his Power Ranger action figures or whatever boys play with at that age.

I finally made my way home after 4:00 AM. You know driving in LA is so much nicer when there are no other cars on the road -- I made it home in less than ten minutes! My alarm roused me two short hours later and I made it to work on time. Then I came home in the afternoon and crashed on the couch for a little while, but honestly I didn't get much rest since I was still wound up from the previous evening's excitement. Reality came crashing back to me when I headed out to do my laundry at 9pm. Ugh.

It was a very emotional experience to go on this wild ride, but I must admit a great sense of relief having completed the process. What I loved most was reuniting with my dear friends from the A.D. Tour, and bonding with new friends and colleagues such as Gary Goddard, Yvonne, Barry, and the outstanding company of actors and musicians in our ensemble.

I don't know what's next for Scottydude's professional performing career. Working in the theater again certainly has reignited my creative energies. Our music director Craig Barna suggested I audition for the national tour of Camelot with Michael York which Craig is doing. I might give it a shot since he told me I could get an appointment with the casting director instead of dealing with the cattle call.

More than anything I would like to perform in Jesus Christ Superstar. I don't know why, but there is something about that show and the music that really moves me. It is a timeless story that will endure for generations to come. As Ted told me as he hugged me goodnight, "We'll do it again." I can't wait!

Scotty and Teddy

Sunday, August 13, 2006

JCS in Hollywood: Day Four

The countdown is on! It's one day before the show and we still have much to prepare before the performance. Ben Vereen arrived in the afternoon and worked on stage for a couple hours with director Gary Goddard and our Caiaphas and Annas, Chris Carey and Larry Friedman. We also worked through the Last Supper with Ben and Ted.

Scotty with Ben Vereen

Ben seems like a nice fellow, very talented, but it was surprising to note that he doesn't really know the part! Sure he played Judas on Broadway, but that was 35 years ago and he hasn't touched the material since. Our Judas cover, Chuck DiMaria, was shadowing Ben on stage and feeding him every line during rehearsal. Ben left during dinner break to go rest at the hotel and to study his script.

Gary Goddard, Barry Dennen, Ted Neeley, Ben Vereen

Outside the theater, beautiful show posters were displayed with every cast member's name and photo included! They look really great and I'm sure they were very expensive. Gary Goddard does everything first class. For a few minutes most of the cast was outside taking pictures and then a few media photographers and fans saw us and it turned into a real photo shoot of the cast on the red carpet!

"Look Ma, I made it!"


Da Boys and the paparazzi

Gary also gave us each a show poster and a souvenir program for the show, and my goodness they are so cool. The program has photos and bios of everybody involved in the production, plus a memorial page for Carl Anderson. It's a wonderful keepsake. All the cast members signed one another's posters; these will look great framed.

Inside the theater, the set has really come together. It looks beautiful with all the lighting and dressing. The crew has been working 24-hour days non-stop to get everything just right. We also have big TV cameras at the back of the house and on the balconies. They will record the performance in HD with direct sound and video feeds to the trucks outside. Then they can mix it down for the DVD release. Gosh, I hope they really do that 'cause it would be cool to have this recorded, especially since none of my friends or family will be at the performance.

Gary directs "Damned for all Time" on stage

During the afternoon staging rehearsal, I was positioned downstage when I suddenly saw the theater manager positioning a very elderly man in a wheelchair right in front of the stage just a few feet from me. This frail old gentlemen seemed very interested in observing the action on stage and he had several assistants around him with water and snacks, making sure he was comfortable. The old man looked vaguely familiar and then I recognized him as Ricardo Montalban! Of course - he wanted to see what was happening in his theater.

During a break in the action I sneaked down to take a picture with him. I told him my favorite movie of his was the Planet of the Apes movie he did. "Oh yes, I remember that one," he replied in his familiar Spanish accent. He was a very kind gentlemen and gladly posed for pictures and signed autographs for people throughout the afternoon. I was surprised that he stayed for several hours, sitting and watching everything. The house manager told me later that Sr. Montalban really enjoyed himself. He felt invigorated by all the activity. It made me sad to think that this once vital actor/singer/dancer from Mexico City who has performed in hundreds of movies, TV shows, and stage productions is now reduced to an elderly invalid. Getting old sucks.

Scott meets Ricardo Montalban

One very cool addition to the production today was the musicians. We rehearsed with the rock band in the evening and they sound awesome. I'm delighted that our old guitarist from the A.D. tour, Kim Norton, is playing the gig. Kim knows the show so well, I noticed at one point didn't even have the right music on his stand while he was playing! The band is actually upstage of the set so the actors have to be very careful not to disturb any equipment or instruments as we make our entrances and exits. The conductor and musicians got quite frustrated though since their music stand lights are controlled by the lighting designer and he kept dimming them during scene changes. "We can't see the music!" screamed the conductor many times during the rehearsal. I can't wait to hear the full orchestra with strings and brass on Sunday.

Scott hangs with Yvonne Elliman

During dinner break, I had a chance to hang out with Yvonne Elliman, our Mary Magdelene. Yvonne is such a clown and she had us all in stitches. She's also quite a flirt! She introduced us to her lovely daughter Sage, whom Yvonne obviously adores. Sage has completed a Master's Degree and is planning to go for her PhD. Yvonne told us that as a little girl Sage loved school and would come home and finish her homework and then ask her mommy for more! Smart young lady.

Jack Black as Herod

The evening rehearsal saw the return of Jack Black as Herod. He ran through his number about four times and all the cast sat in the house to watch him work. All I can say is: genius at work. Jack is amazing and hilarious at Herod. He is perfect and his scene will undoubtedly steal the show. If you don't know the show, Herod's Song sounds like an old ragtime vaudeville burlesque number with Herod mocking Jesus and taunting him for performing miracles. At one point, Ted was away from the stage so Larry Friedman, Ted's cover, stepped in and Jack played the whole number to him! Larry said later, "I can't believe that actually happened -- Jack Black was right in my face!"

Jack Black as Herod gets close to Jesus

Gary finally finished blocking all the scenes late in the evening, and then we tried a full run-through. It was rough, but we got through it and the cast members haven't done the show before got a better sense of the overall picture. It was so funny, after each scene I'd have about four or five people come up to me backstage and ask, "What's next?" Luckily, I could always tell them the right answer. This is exactly why Forbes and Ted needed me and other Superstar veterans: to help the newbies along.

The only major component still missing is Clint Holmes as Simon Zealotes. He has only one solo number in the show, but it's a big one with a lot of movement and choreography. I sang the song during the run-through -- damn, they should just give that solo to me! I also helped conduct the cast during the chorus numbers since without video monitors we can't see Craig Barna conducting since he's behind us upstage. Shoot, I could do this whole show by myself, couldn't I? (hee hee)

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I had a realization last night on my way home: I'm a pretty talented guy! I can sing, act, and move on stage. I understand stage production, I read music, I'm a conductor, and I'm a pretty nice guy, to boot. Shit, what am I doing teaching English?! I hope Gary Goddard recognizes my talents and remembers me for future productions. He is one of the most talented and successful artists in the entertainment industry, a good guy to know in this business.

It's been a long time since I've had these creative juices flowing and I really miss it. Teaching English is a fine job, but it does very little to feed the soul. Perhaps something will come of this to inspire me back into performing more regularly. Ted has already connected me with some of his friends who run the successful Rubicon Theater in Ventura and they said they would love to have me on their team. That's a real nice thing to hear in this town.

Well dear reader, there's not much left to say. Tomorrow, the show!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

JCS in Hollywood: Day Three

The Ricardo Montalban Theatre marquee

Another whirlwind day in Jesus-ville. Today we had the addition of Deep Voice Guy, Chris Carey, who was born to play Caiaphas. It was so funny at the afternoon music rehearsal when we practiced the "Jesus Must Die" number and Chris opened that basso profundo mouth of his -- all the kids in the chorus nearly fell out of their chairs with surprise! I'm so used to hearing Chris sing the role that I had forgotten what a shock it is to hear that deep, deep voice.

We rehearsed music for a couple of hours in the afternoon, then there was a one-hour break when Jack Black secretively arrived for his private rehearsal on stage. You would have thought the President was in the house or something because all entrances to the auditorium were blocked by velvet ropes, chairs, and burly stage hands keeping everyone out. Signs were posted reading: Absolutely NO Admittance. I guess some people take themselves too seriously.

During the break, Larry, Chris, Chris' friend Trish and I walked down the street to get a sandwich at Caffe, Etc. It was really delicious food -- now I know why their sandwiches cost $10 a pop!

Larry, Chris, Ted, and myself

Back at the theater, Jack Black surprised us by popping upstairs to the rehearsal room to meet the cast. Turns out he's a pretty nice guy. He was rather humble and softspoken, and he looks exactly like he does in the movies: longish hair, scruffy beard, and chubby belly. Ted told me later that Jack requested a private rehearsal because he was so nervous about making mistakes in front of the cast. I guess it's difficult when you become a big star because everybody expects greatness from you at every moment. As a kid, Jack participated in the YouTHeatre organization, which is the beneficiary of this charity performance, hence his involvement.

A young Jack Black on stage for YouTHeatre

The cast was sent on dinner break from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, but just as I got home and was about to nod off on the couch for my afternoon nap, the telephone rang. It was our stage manager Phil Rahn asking if I could come back to the theater because the director, Gary Goddard, wanted to work with me, Ted, Yvonne, Barry, and a few others. Well certainly I snapped to attention and rushed back to the theater.

Unfortunately when I got there, no one else was around except Ted. So Ted and I went up into the balcony and sat down together. It had been so long since we had had the opportunity for a nice, private chat. We talked about the show and the upcoming tour he's preparing for. He was frustrated with the tour production company because they hadn't hired any of the people he recommended for the cast or crew, mostly because the company didn't offer enough money for people to leave their day jobs.

Ted also spoke about his wife and kids. They came with him from Houston to see this production, and in fact I saw them at the theater later in the evening. My god, I couldn't believe how much the kids had grown! The last time I saw them, ten years ago, they were both little kids. Now they are beautiful young adults. I can't believe how tall Ted's son Zach has grown. The kids want to go to school here in California, so Ted is seriously considering moving back here.

Finally Ted called Gary on his cell phone and said, "Scotty and I are sitting in the house. Are you ready for us yet?" Gary was on stage with Yvonne Elliman, who had just arrived and was singing with the musical director (the excellent Craig Barna), so we went down and Ted introduced me to her. She's a funny and charming lady and we had a nice meeting together. After Yvonne sang her solo, we practiced "Peter's Denial" and and as Gary promised, I get to be Man by the Fire: "But I saw you too/it looked just like you." Barry Dennen was also there so I snapped some pictures.

Barry Dennen and Yvonne Elliman

Scotty Spalding and Barry Dennen

The evening staging rehearsal got started over an hour late, but we finished most of the second act. I'm proud to say I'm on stage singing and moving in every chorus scene. We had a nice moment with Ted during the lepers scene when we all grab at him and drag him down and beg him to heal us. Ted really gets into the part at times and his body was quivering with energy during that moment leading up to his scream, "Heal yourselves!"

Afterwards, he asked the cast to sit close with him on stage and he told us in his soft whisper of a voice how much he depends on and appreciates the emotional and physical connection between the performers on stage. Ted's a touchy-feely kind of guy and a real sweetheart, and in that moment he bonded with the cast. Everyone was instantly smitten with him -- it was a classic Neeley moment. Like one of the young chorus girls told me later, "He's so cuddly!"

I started to get a little choked up at two point during the evening. The first time was when Yvonne and Ted were on stage for "I Don't Know How to Love Him." I was standing in the wings next to Barry Dennen, and we were both watching and listening to Yvonne sing to Ted and I suddenly thought, "Is this a dream?" This music and these people have been such a strong part of my life for so many years; it was a surreal experience to be standing in the same space with them instead of watching them on screen or listening to the records.

I also felt the tears welling up during the Last Supper, during which I play one of the Apostles. Gary has staged it nicely so that as we sit down for the meal with Jesus, we recreate the poses Leonardo da Vinci used for his painting of the Last Supper (I'm third from the right). I think they did that in the movie too, right? It will be a really nice moment for the audience. I started to get really sad when Ted started singing about "the end" and then his argument with Judas ensues and I flashed back to all those great moments between Ted and Carl during this scene. I was often on stage as an apostle during the tour and it was always an emotionally-charged moment because those two guys really let it rip.

I miss Carl a lot, but I'm eager to see what Ben Vereen will bring to the role. I don't think Ben's performed the part since the original Broadway run more than 30 years ago. He's supposed to join us Saturday, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 11, 2006

JCS in Hollywood: Day Two

Thursday was another whirlwind 18 hour day for yours truly. After teaching my morning class at UCLA, I had to run out at noon for a costume fitting at Universal Studios. It was my first time to be on the actual lot, not just the theme park. The costume department is housed in the appropriately named Edith Head building.

Although I wanted to drive around and explore more of the studio lot, my presence was expected at rehearsal so I quickly made my way over the hill to the theater in Hollywood. The afternoon was spent in a music rehearsal. There are a few lyrics which are different from any version of the show I've been aware of, particularly in the Temple scene and in the Trial Before Pilate.

In the Temple, the last verse before the instrumental break has been replaced by a completely different lyric: "What you see is what you get/No one's been disappointed yet/Don't be scared, give me a try/There is nothing you can't buy."

And in the Trial, just after Pilate's line "He's a sad little man/not a king or god/I need a crime" the chorus suddenly breaks into a syncopated spoken section: "Kill him/he says he's god/he's a blasphemer/He'll conquer you/and us and every Caesar/(random shouts)/Crucify him." Then Pilate continues, "Behold the man/behold your silent king..."

Whacky, huh? I think it sounds stupid, but maybe that's just 'cause I'm not familiar with that section. Is it from the Broadway verion? Perhaps the movie? They did add some different things for the movie. In fact, we are singing the extra verse in Hosanna where Jesus says something like, "Sing out your song, but not for me alone..." and I can't remember the rest of it. That was written for the movie, I think. Oh well, it just means I have some new lyrics to learn, but more likely I'll just be lipsyncing in those new parts!

Music rehearsal with the Priests

I sang Pilate's lines for the Trial music rehearsal, but Barry Dennen arrived for the staging rehearsals and he did a fine job. He's a surprisingly small man, but he's very sweet and I had a chance to chat with him several times throughout the day. I reminded him of the time we met at the Egyptian Theater for the JCS movie screening.

During the evening rehearsal, Teddy arrived and walked on stage to give me a big hug. He rubbed my cheek with his hand and said, "Scotty, I'm glad you're here." HE's glad?! That's just the kind of generous, loving man Mr. Neeley is. Watching him mill amongst the cast with greetings and hugs for everyone, it struck me anew what a unique individual he is -- so warm and kind. He truly embodies all the great things about the character he plays.

Ted's a very nervous flyer and today was doubly bad because of the terrorist plot foiled in London, which has made airport security even more oppressive than before. Ted phoned the producer and said he was going to skip the flight and drive to L.A. from Houston instead. It's a three day trip, which would have placed his arrival just about show time on Sunday! Rather than risk it, they hired a private jet to bring to Ted to Burbank airport. He was much happier with that, I'm sure.

Ted didn't rehearse this evening, but he did meet with the producers and went for his costume fitting. Larry stood in his place and wowed the cast with his pyrotechnic vocals. The man can sing REALLY high! We rehearsed the Temple scene and the Lepers all evening and finally broke a little after 11:30pm. It was so hot in the theater, everybody was drenched.

It's a little scary to think we haven't even finished blocking the show and we go on in two days' time. Our director Gary said we'd finish blocking on Friday so that we can add the stars in Saturday and Sunday. I'm not sure when Jack Black is arriving, but I've already heard negative things about him, or more specifically his representatives. Don't know many details but it seems some diva-esque attitudes have been copped: insisting on a private rehearsal before joining the cast, and something about balking over the contracts regarding video and audio recording of the show. The cast signed contracts for that yesterday. Seems Universal wants to film the performance for possible distribution on CD and DVD, plus a PBS broadcast. That may be in jeopardy if Jack or any of the other stars decide not to sign.

I'll keep you posted, dear reader! In the meantime, enjoy some pics I took with my new camera.

Larry Friedman (Annas) and Phil Rahn (stage manager)

The stage

The cast gets psyched for the Simon Zealotes number

Who's that sweaty guy?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

JCS in Hollywood: Day One

Today was my first day of rehearsals for the special one-night-only performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. The cast is mostly young and hot (I love LA) and pretty talented as far as I can tell.

I was expecting a music rehearsal today, but in fact the music director is out of town until tomorrow. There was an earlier music rehearsal last weekend before I was cast, so today was a staging rehearsal. We got through most of the first act of the show, skipping a few sections that will depend on the star actors in the lead roles. Most of them won't be here until closer to show time....which is only four days away!

Today I was reunited with a couple guys from the national tour I did ten years ago. This afternoon I saw Chuck DiMaria, who was our Judas replacement when Carl Anderson was away from the show. And this evening Larry Friedman, our wonderful Annas and Jesus understudy, arrived with his lovely wife Debbie. Larry is a darling man and we were quite close buddies during the tour, even roommates for a while. We laughed all evening remembering some of the funny stories from that time.

Things will get even better tomorrow when Chris Carey, our Deep Voice Guy who plays Caiaphas, arrives. I think Barry Dennen, as Pilate, arrives tomorrow as well. It's pretty crazy to put together a show in only a few days, especially when we won't have the full cast together until show day. It's pretty exciting, though.

I like our director Gary Goddard. He's a very talented man and he obviously loves this show. I think he likes me too, 'cause he's keeping me on stage and up front for most of the stage blocking so far. Because I joined the show after it was cast, I wasn't assigned any particular roles, but Gary told me tonight I can do the "Man by the Fire" character who recognizes Peter after he denies his association with Jesus.

The set design is really cool. It's all welded iron railings with stairways and platforms reaching three levels high. They're also adding video screens to show clips of the original movie during some of the sequences. This is turning out to be a rather involved production, all for one night, and I think it could be a really good show. Besides the talented cast on stage, we will also have a 30-piece orchestra playing Sir Andrew's original orchestrations, and the producer announced today that we will be joined by the choir from the Agape Church, Carl's house of worship. I attended his memorial service at Agape and the music was incredible.

I'll post some pictures here in the next day or two. I bought a new digital camera just for that purpose. It's after 12:30 AM so I must get to bed....another long day tomorrow!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jesus is coming to Hollywood!

And I'm gonna be singing with him! Along with Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Jack Black, and just added, Ben Vereen as Judas! Oh my god, this is going to be fun. Gotta get some rest now. More details to come....

Jesus Christ Superstar in Hollywood!
NOTE:  This link is attached in the block below.



Here are some comments and pictures from Barry Dennen's JCS YTA picture page  see all the comments and pictures here:

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos from Sunday's performance. There were a lot of duplicates but we appreciated them anyway. Thanks in particular to Scott Spalding and Anne DiAlbo for some great behind-the-scenes shots. Barry's personal reminiscences will follow soon.

In one way or another, many of Carl's friends and fans tonight have Heaven on their Minds."

(my comments are below in red)

I was SOOO GLAD to see this shot on Barry's site!  It brings back LOTS of memories!  This was taken 
during rehearsals.  It's a little hard to tell - but that's me sitting on the left side of the second row (light 
green shirt and blue jeans), next to Gabrielle (lovely African American lady in the purple shirt).

HOWEVER, a better shot (for me anyway :-) ) showed up in a scottydude photo album! Same rehearsal day as the one above, but that's me, reading the script and music, sitting on the right side in the front row (light green shirt and blue jeans), next to Jenean (on my right - your left - in the light blue tank top). 

Curtain call - left to right:  Jack Black, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Ted, Ben Vereen, Clint Holmes, Chris Carey and Douglas Crawford

Trial Before Pilate - from left:  Ethan Wilcox, Ted, Briton Atkins, Barry Dennen

REHEARSAL (from left): Chris Carey (Caiaphas), Ben Vereen (Judas), Gary Goddard (Director), 
Larry Friedman (Annas), Chuck DiMaria (High Priest/Judas u/s)

DURING SATURDAY'S REHEARSAL:  Ricardo Montalban (in wheelchair) pays a surprise visit!  Posing with him is Scott Spalding (ensemble).  What a lovely man Ricardo is!

The stage all lit up.  The scaffolding stretches out even further forward than this picture!

REHEARSAL:  "Herod's Song" (from left): Briton Atkins, Aija Lise (I think), Jack Black, Lindsay Vina, Renee Cohen, Ethan Wilcox

A REALLY GOOD LOOK at the stage during the Trial Before Pilate.  You can even see some of us from the Agape Choir over on stage right just behind the front scaffold - floor level.

Barry Dennen as Pilate ("Pilate's Dream".  He was FABULOUS!!!

Ted gets "mauled" during "The Lepers".



While most of these can't compare to the professional shots on the web (for some reason a number of my shots turned out blurred - and this was the first time that happened so often on one "roll", so I'm posting the best of the batch), but some are 
little treasures I would like to share.  Enjoy!

Ted and me Sunday - backstage between the last run-through and the performance.

Jack Nakano (Founder/Artistic Director of YTA) is a lovely man. I was fortunate to 
be one of his assistants at the Benefit. This was taken at the VIP party after the show.
NOTE: Jack died on 1/15/09. This is SUCH a big loss for YTA and JCS. He was a lovely man,
and I do, and will, miss him.

JCS Cast (well, most of them) with Gary Goddard (Director/Producer) (2nd row ctr.), Jack Nakano (YTA) (in stripes standing on rt.) and Joe Gunches (Producer) behind Jack Nakano. Ted is on the left - 4th row back, right next to Larry Friedman (Annas). This was taken Sunday afternoon during a break in rehearsal, just before the run-through. The billboards behind everyone were put up at 2:30AM Sunday morning, and no one knew their faces would be outside the theatre until we all came in for the sound check and the last rehearsal. The reactions were PRICELESS - and the picture-taking must have gone on for about 10 minutes!  Give an actor a little "fame" and ... (LOL!).

The YTA Banner (this, and the JCS Banners (below) was made using a number of 
pictures and slides from YTA History that date back to the '70s. Jenean, Jack N. 
and Gary are the owners of the original treasures.

The first outside billboard - Ted in sunglasses (interesting shot). Obviously everyone knows 
Ben, Yvonne, Barry, and probably Jack Black), next to Jack is Clint Holmes (Simon), and 
below are Chris Carey (Caiaphas), Larry Friedman (Annas) and Douglas Crawford (Peter)
 - an RTC member of "Lies and Legends" and "Man of LaMancha"!

These two, Nathan Reid and Gabrielle Hatchett, are the sweetest folks - and this shot gives you an idea of the last outside billboard (I don't have a full shot of it). Nathan and Gabrielle are a very smart couple who use the "rock paper and scissors" game as a way to settle anything. Chuck DiMaria (Judas) liked the idea so much, he gave Gabrielle a t-shirt that says "Rock Paper Scissors Champion"!


                            The superstar Billboard in front of the theatre.

The three Superstar Banners inside the theatre.  These were also made from a number of pictures and slides from YTA History that date back to the '70s. again, Jenean, Jack N. and Gary are the owners of the original treasures. From the left - pictures are from the 1976 Santa Barbara Bowl YTA production of JCS- which started Ted and Carl, and featured Yvonne for one weekend of shows, the second banner is a picture of Ted and Carl (Last Supper end, I believe), also from 1976, and the last banner shows Ted from 1976 with - I believe - a young Eric Stolz (Jenean?), and pictures of the 2006 Benefit stage, leads and the theatre marquee.


Chris Carey (Caiaphas), Ben Vereen (Judas) and Larry Friedman (Annas) during
Saturday's rehearsal.

       Saturday afternoon during rehearsal - Ben Vereen (center with white shirt) meets the cast.  They must have been rehearsing The Trial Before Pilate, because Barry is up above in spotlight.                     

Chuck DiMaria (High Priest/Judas u/s) in the dressing rooms during the VIP party. It's a
little blurred, but still a good shot of Chuck.

A partially blurred shot of Clint Holmes (Simon) and Gary rehearsing Simon Zealotes
Sunday afternoon before the run-through.

The stage on Saturday before rehearsal. If you look closely, you can see Ben in the white shirt next to Gary in the blue shirt - center stage.

Halle Eavelyn (lft.) and Leslie Taylor. Halle is a member of the Agape Choir, and Leslie and
I were two of the "ringers" who sang with them in the show. Leslie's husband, Ron Greenwood,
was the video archivist for the YTA Benefit.

Finally, with Michelle Aker's ( permission, I am posting her fabulous overhead stage shot, because I 
wanted to show you where we (Agape Choir/Ringers) were standing onstage. I can actually see myself in this picture, but it's very
hard to tell that it's me.  On the left side of this picture are two very bright spotlights.  We are right behind them.  And the little
person to the right of those lights, in the scaffold is me!  You can also see a number of Agape Choir members in that section of
the stage, if you look closely. We had a birdseye view - and it was an honor to be there!



I had a wonderful time in LA working on/singing in this amazing evening.  Here is my experience for you to read.  

NOTE:  These posts have been re-edited for content, errors and, most importantly, TIME! 


DAY 1-2 - Question on Me and the JCS Benefit DAY 8 - First Rehearsal ONSTAGE
DAY 3 - The First Rehearsal DAY 9 - Teddie and Barry Arrive
DAY 4 - Let's Do The Program - and the infamous Jack Black Song From the Audition DAY 10 - Yvonne, Jack Black and Chris Carey's First Day in - Teddie the Comedian
DAY 5 - Quiet Day - Somewhat DAY 11 - First - ALMOST Run-Through - and Celeb Surprises
DAY 6 - Things Start Hopping! DAY 12 - The Big Day
DAY 7 - Last Day of "Rest"