A Jesus Christ Superstar Adaptation

Cap Kotz
2 min readMay 20

The rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice, is vibrantly dance-rich. However, the story is fairly simple. JC hears the calling of a higher purpose in life; instead of seeking importance by fitting an outer world performance, he turns inward, seeking an inner metaverse.

The overture opens with woodsy creatures easing from the shadows, then erupting into power-skipping, rushing forward, sucked backward, twirling into a confused and anxious loss. A bold, angry ceremony is silenced by greatness, followed by fog and eerie voices retreating into the forest.

JC’s good buddy, Judas, is concerned that JC is going too far into the strange notion of an inner metaverse. He pleads with JC to resume being a solid, decent man seeking power and leadership, finding importance in performance. But JC is determined that the true way is inward. At first, his many followers dance and rejoice at the coming of actual release, but a low grumbling is heard when he encourages Mary’s embrace. Finally, Judas begs him to stick with his brethren, and JC turns his anguish inside out, foreseeing betrayal.

The old guys with white hair and paunches pace with hands clasped behind their backs. They argue whether JC is a nobody or a threat. They worry the masses will come to see fitting into typical norms as essentially a scam designed by those few who will benefit. They conclude he must die and approach Judas to reveal JCs whereabouts, reassuring the reluctant fellow they mean to steer JC back on the rightful path. They sweeten the deal with a small bag of gold, and Judas agrees, thinking he is helping his dear friend.

The ensemble surges into a passionate bid for healing, begging JC to touch and kiss them, dervish dancing by the crackle of a night fire, but JC feels the tide turning. He hears greediness at the edge of the adulation, and he breaks into a violent epiphany, an awareness he will soon find himself alone as the others return to their old ways, fitting into the norm.

Sinking into transcendent despair, JC begs for illumination. He also longs to return to the old ways, accumulating money and success. The music progresses wild, a pounding storm of loss and despair, but then he quiets and, seeing the portal opening to the other side, knows he must die and enter the inner metaverse.

There are thirty-nine lashes of public humiliation, and he must bear his atypical cross through the jeering masses, taunted for refusing to mask up like everyone else. Too late, Judas realizes he has betrayed his friend instead of saving him, and he throws himself off the cliffs of madness while JC sags against the nails of slow acceptance, a heart-wrenching melody of compassion and forgiveness.

Cap Kotz

Writer and Story Mapping Guide, I follow the life path no matter how challenging.