The Many Posters & Playbills of “Jesus Christ Superstar”

According to Playbill.com, “This up-to-date production sets the greatest story ever told against a modernist backdrop and wowed the critics during its run at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It is directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys).” The reviews from Jesus Christ Superstar’s out-of-town tryout at La Jolla Playhouse have been published as well, and it looks like it’s going to be a huge hit! The critics are raving! Charles McNulty of the LA Times says the show is, “…tightly focused and beautifully measured. This Jesus Christ Superstar gives everyone a reason to artistically rejoice this holiday season.” (Read the round-up of reviews here.)

One of my favorite things about any Broadway show (especially revivals) is the new graphic design that is used to market the show. The design can be very important to the show’s success and it tells audiences what they should expect from the production. The recent revival of Godspell, interestingly enough, is using the old 1974 graphic design for the new 2011 revival. But the new revival of Anything Goes uses a splashy photo of the star, Sutton Foster, as their main focus. It looks fresh, new and very appealing.

In the past, Jesus Christ Superstar has kept the original image throughout all of the revivals and most of the national tours, except the most recent 2000 Broadway revival, which focuses heavily on a photo of Jesus, rather than the two-angels halo image. Below, you can see the images of three different Jesus Christ Superstar Broadway playbills and show posters from the past.

1971 Playbill
1977 Playbill
2000 Playbill
"Jesus Christ Superstar" Posters - Credit: Broadway Direct

The new Broadway poster (seen above on the top left) is completely different from anything else that has been seen in the past. The huge block letters gives us the impression that Jesus Christ is/was a true superstar. It also fits the “feel” of this new revival. As you can see below, they use the oversized block letters as a part of the production as well.

In a Broadway season that is heavy in revivals (especially shows from the 1970’s), is it better to look toward the past like Godspell did or create something new? Are you nostalgic for the 1970’s imagery or do you like the new, updated, fresh look better?

And for the most important question: Does it make you want to see the show?

Be sure to tell us what you think in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “The Many Posters & Playbills of “Jesus Christ Superstar”

  1. I personally like the logo from the 2000 version. This would be a good feature on your blog to compare revivals’ artwork to their original! 🙂

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