‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Vs. ‘Godspell’: Which Broadway Revival Will Have The Hotter Jesus?

There may be dueling Jesuses at next year’s Tony Awards! The Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Jesus Christ Superstar is heading to Broadway next spring after an acclaimed production in Ontario. The Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice (subtlety alert!) show will be hot on the sandaled heels of the first Broadway revival of Godspell, which opens this fall. But the real question: which will feature the sexier Jesus?

Perhaps the success of The Book of Mormon has created some sort of religious fervor on the Great White Way, but the New Testament has rarely been so hot. Hunter Parrish, who plays Mary Louise Parker’s son on Weeds, is set to play Jesus in Godspell. For those who are unfamiliar with the Stephen Schwartz musical, Jesus is classically seen wearing a Superman t-shirt and rainbow suspenders. Theatre! Let’s hope Parrish’s costume is at least sleeveless; could he be the first to portray the pacifist messiah while carrying such big guns?

A fun game to play on YouTube, by the way, is to watch the finale from various productions of the show, which is very popular among high school music departments and community theater troupes, to see how there’s no way to avoid ending this musical with a bleak and overdramatic depiction of the crucifixion. It’s kind of a boner-killer.

Meanwhile, the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar will probably be some unknown British guy draped in a white sheet. But there will be guaranteed sexual tension between Jesus and his prostitute gal pal Mary Magdelene, who sings the recognizable “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.” The original production of the depicted Jesus and his disciples as free-spirited hippies, (so, not totally different than Godspell, really). Hippies aren’t particularly sexy, are they?

Hunter Parrish may have the advantage here–that is, if the American Theater Wing were to award a Tony for Hottest Savior. But Superstar does have a secret weapon: Judas. It’s hard not to love the bad boy who gets the sing the title song.

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