SUPERSTAR finds its own niche in entertainment realm. First, it
was the 2.5 million selling album, then the Broadway rock opera
and then the movie. "Jesus Christ Superstar" has carved its own
unorthodox road in the entertainment realm.
The rock opera depicting Christ's last seven days is back on stage,
starring Texas native Ted Neeley (Ranger High School Class of 1962
in Ranger, TX) in the title role. Featured songs include "Hosanna",
"Everything's All Right" & "I Don't Know How to Love Him".
"Jesus Christ Superstar" began as a two-record rock opera in the
United States and Britain in 1970. Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer
of "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera", and Lyricist Tim Rice
collaborated on it.
After the successful album, the two men, plus Robert Stigwood,
created the Broadway production of "Jesus Christ Superstar". It
opened in October 1971. Advance sales topped $1 million, an
Ted Neeley made his motion picture debut as Jesus in the Norman
Jewison movie "Jesus Christ Superstar". It was shot on location
in Israel. He received two Golden Globe nominations for his
Neeley also appeared in stage productions of "Hair", "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Tommy". He's now focusing on writing
and producing when he's not performing in "Superstar".
Ted Neeley has collaborated with music partner Pepper Martin on a
country music album. He's also developed the musical "pandemonium"
On special nights at the Ranger, Texas drive-in theater, Teddy
Neeley and the Teddy Bears mounted the projection building during
Neeley and two other band members wowed audiences on those 1960's
nights with slow, romantic tunes like "In the Still of the Night."
Teddy performed the Teddy Bears his senior year with Joe Barker
and Billy Patton. Neeley sang tunes from popular singers of the
era such as Paul Anka & Bobby Vinton.
Ranger High grade seven through 12, gathered for assembly on Fridays.
The 800 or so students watched the maroon and white curtains sweep
open. On sight of Teddie Neeley and the Teddy Bears, they filled
the auditorium with cheering.
Hometown success didn't go to Neeley's head. But then things were
different back in the 60s. "Growing up back then was so simple and
sweet, not like it is now."
In the town of about 3,000 residents, no one locked their houses
and keys hung in ignitions. It was a place where everyone knew
Ranger teens indulged little in smoking, drinking or even dragging
since few had a car.
On Friday and Saturday nights, they hung out at Teen Town, a small
club for youth run by the school. (Based on article in Ranger Times)
Teddy in RHS-1962 Teddy in "Superstar" Teddy Bears
Teddy & The Spirals in the
early 1960s: Alvis Rodgers,
Billy Patton, Butch Owen,
Teddy, Joe Barker, & Charles
Recent picture of The Pope shaking hands with Ted's
daughter, Tessa. In the background to the right is
Ted & his wife, Leeyan.
Teddy visiting his hometown Ranger & Young School