Jesus Christ Superstar will be familiar, in basic fact, to anyone with knowledge of western religion. Borrowing from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the musical tells the story of the last seven days of Jesus Christ’s life. As the show opens, apostle Judas Iscariot is growing concerned that Jesus’ followers will be perceived as a threat to the occupying Roman Empire. Indeed, priests Caiaphas, Annas and more gather and agree that Jesus and his movement must be crushed. An exalted Jesus arrives in Jerusalem only to find the temple filled with unsavory merchants and money lenders. Overrun by a flood of people needing his help, he tells them to heal themselves, and his confidante Mary Magdalene has to calm him down.
Judas, fearing the movement is getting out of Jesus’ control, goes to the Romans and tells them Jesus will be in the Garden of Gethsemane the following night. He receives 30 pieces of silver as payment. At the Garden, Judas arrives with Roman soldiers and identifies Jesus by kissing him on the cheek. Jesus is arrested and sent to Caiaphas, then Pontius Pilate and finally King Herod, who condemns his to death on the cross.