This has it all
... A classic soundtrack, Listen to the powerful Overture, the pain in Judas before he commits suicide, and the confusion in Mary's voice in the classic "I don't know how to love him"
... Inspired direction (All set in the desert, filmed in seven days, numerous clever touches and symbolism), and most of all ENERGY. Judas is the strongest character, and steals the show, but Jesus and Pontius Pilate for me are just behind, with Mary just behind again (Sorry but I have heard Mary's songs too many times !!).
For me the most compelling thing about this production is it's coherence. It is clearly produced in a certain period, but for all that it is ageless. Some of the singing is off, but beyond that everything just clicks wonderfully, and the dancing is exciting and impressive.
I looked around for a long time to get this, and even got hold of a multi-region player to watch it.
Early work by any composer always tends to have the raw edge and energy to inspire the audience, and this is certainly one for me.
BUY THIS!! Don't bother with the later production, I will be diplomatic, and say that I cannot watch it, because it is so bad, and this is so good.
This set a benchmark, and I don't expect another musical based on the life of Jesus to beat it any time soon.