Monday, December 19, 2005

What's the buzz?

"A Christmas Carol."
"Frosty the Snowman."
"It's a Wonderful Life."
"Jesus Christ Superstar."

In an odd bit of seasonal programming, the sly folks at the Sundance channel scheduled the 1973 Norman Jewison film of the Webber-Rice rock musical for December.

The anachronistic film definitely reflects the time it was made. The Roman guards wear combat fatigue pants. Characters are buzzed by low-flying fighter planes and chased by tanks. And both Jesus and Judas sing like ''70s rock stars, which I guess is kind of the point.

Yvonne Elliman's lovely "I Don't Know How To Love Him" is still moving, all these years later.

The live musical has fared better than the movie, which is frozen in a pop culture time capsule. (Even the device of having the cast arrive and leave the location shoot on what looks like Ken Kesey's bus seems strangely dated.)

It first played here at The Center in 1994 and then again in 2004. The most recent run especially drew big crowds. And the concept isn't quite so scandalous as it was when the musical debuted in 1971 in New York. (There have been two revivals on Broadway.)

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More from National Teach -In Day

"The performing arts center is the largest arts center in the southeast. Jesse McCartney went there. Rockets [Rockettes] went there, too, for their Christmas song. We can all go and learn and have fun. It is Downtown. His job is to make sure people come. If no one comes, they get disappointed. They have a website that has everything. Go to" -- Nikki G.

"Thank you for all you showed us and I hope you come to tell us more about the theater and I hope I can go there sometime." -- Richard K

- Michael K.

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