Bible Society urges Jesus Christ Superstar attendees to discover the original superstar
Audiences at the openings of Jesus Christ Superstar – The Arena Spectacular in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne were challenged to get to know the ‘original superstar’ in a stunt by Bible Society Australia this week.
Ready and waiting outside the show’s venues in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, teams of Bible Society staff and volunteers distributed free copies of the Gospel of Matthew along with t-shirts and badges carrying the tagline: ‘Jesus. The Original Superstar’
The Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera was first staged in Broadway in 1971, and has historically received heavy criticism from Christians on its Biblical inaccuracies, with many considering the musical blasphemous. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of Australians—Christians included— flocking to see the new adaptation this week, which features Aussie musician, comedian and outspoken atheist Tim Minchin as Judas.
It also hasn’t stopped Bible Society Australia making the most of an opportunity to get people to talk about Jesus.
“We always love it when Jesus Christ is getting airplay, whatever the vehicle,” says Bible Society CEO, Greg Clarke. “We just want people to have a chance to enjoy the original story in all of its glory and see what they make of it.”
Outside the Sydney Entertainment Centre last Friday night, Bible Society children’s worker Rick George was pumped to spruik Jesus on unsuspecting theatregoers.
“They don’t know we’re coming. So people coming along to see the musical, we’re just going to give them something special to take home. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I think we’ll get a mixed response.”
In Sydney, the volunteer team gave away almost 1,000 T-Shirts, buttons and Gospels of Matthew. At the opening in Brisbane on Tuesday night, however, the team didn’t have quite as much success, asked to move on by Brisbane Entertainment Centre management.
“Well tonight’s stunt at Brisbane Entertainment Centre was short lived; we were asked to move on. On a positive note, if you were one of the lucky ones to get a t-shirt in Brisbane, they are collectible now. Not many made it out,” posted Bible Society Manager Mark Owen on Facebook in Brisbane on Tuesday night.
Tonight in Melbourne, another Bible Society team will be on the ground at the opening of the show at Rod Laver Arena, attempting to draw people to the real Jesus in the Bible. They’re praying for the opportunity to get the message of the real Jesus to as many people as possible.
Damian Fisher, Bible Society’s new head of marketing, says response to the stunt has been well received by the Jesus Christ Superstar audience.
“They got the joke,” he said of the aim to tell people: ‘Seen the show? Now read the Book.’
Holding up the envelopes given out at the event, which contained a Gospel of Matthew, Mr Fisher said “Most importantly, they’re likely to look at this at home, after the show, and look at the true meaning of the Gospel. What more can you ask for?”
Watch a video of Bible Society’s antics at the Sydney opening of Jesus Christ Superstar here, or visit jesustheoriginalsuperstar.com to find out more.More