Happy ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Day
This essay is about faith, family, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic rock opera
I write about religion often because it was part of my upbringing, even though I don’t belong to any church. Well, I don’t belong to any formal religious organization. But I believe in a higher power. It’s one of the cornerstones of my sobriety. I also believe in the healing power of the song “Gethsemane.”
In this essay, I combine two things that mean a lot to me: my parents and musical theater.
My mom was a devout Catholic but not so devout that she wouldn’t marry a Baptist. But she was the popular principal of my CCD school, so the Catholics assumed my soul was still salvageable.
She was also a bit of a radical, a member of a generation of Catholics who wanted to modernize the church. I’m sure she dreamed of a female Pope one day but settled for folk music during services. This is why, on the rare, mortifying occasion that she would substitute teach my CCD class, she’d try to push the boundaries.
There was the time where we listened to U2’s Joshua Tree, on the hunt for Christian themes and lyrics. I prayed for the Angel of Death to visit me. Then there was the class where she played Jesus Christ Superstar.”