Few musicals have reached the heights of popularity as Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera that put a more youthful modern day spin on stories from the New Testament.
Now, Langley resident Andre Pienaar is continuing that story, picking up where the musical left off by creating his own concept album that furthers the themes and story set to modern music.
“The concept album is, in effect, a sequel to the 70’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar which ended on the cross,” Pienaar explained. “My musical tells the balance of the story – it covers the next 40 days of the activity in and around Jerusalem until the ascension.”
Pienaar has been writing music throughout his life – recording several songs in a studio in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was born and raised.
He caught a glimpse of Jesus Christ Superstar in Sydney, Australia when he was just 18 years old and was hooked, though he felt there was more to tell based on the gospels he had read.
In the early 1990s he decided it was time that someone completed the continuation of the Jesus Christ Superstar story, penning songs and music on a D20 workstation synthesizer.
Pienaar said he had completed the project for fun and placed all the materials boxes in a storage unit – not touching any of it again until September of 2019.
After meeting with his original Cape Town studio producer from the 1980s Tony Drake, the project was resurrected and brought into what Pienaar described as “overdrive.”
“It is supported by a full theatrical stage script,” he said. “The concept album was recorded in February and March [of] this year in a studio in Cape Town, with 32 musicians, singers, and instruments.”
Unfortunately, Pienaar noted that COVID-19 quickly “obliterated” all possibilities of large scale stage productions anywhere in the world and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
“I only just managed to escape the draconian COVID-19 lock down in South Africa by two or three days, catching the second last KLM flight that left the country,” Pienaar said.
Now, back home in Langley, Pienaar is exploring options for his creation, including film or other stage venues for his sequel, Ascension the Musical: The Final Forty Days.
”I am very keen to pursue local opportunities with, for example, TWU and Theatre in the Country,” Pienaar said, adding that he is open to suggestions.
Pienaar has produced CD’s and lyric booklets which are currently available for purchase at The House of James in Abbotsford and The Holy Family Catholic Gift and Bookstore in Langley.
People can visit Pienaar’s website, https://ascensionthemusical.com, for more information and to hear samples of his work.
Is there more to this story?