PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- "Jesus Christ Superstar" is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a national tour that stops in Philadelphia in early May.
The musical was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and is based on Jesus' last day, the Passion of Christ.
"It has a wonderful pop/rock score," says Frances Egler, Vice President of Theatrical Programming and Presentations for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc.
She says it tells the story of Jesus and his disciples.
The original production was one of the first rock operas and won Billboard Album of the Year in 1971.
Drew McOnie, choreographer of this 50th-anniversary tour, says the show was "genre-busting" at the time it was released.
He says not only did it change what people thought a musical could be, but it also was "telling stories that people thought they knew."
This new production won an Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.
McOnie says it was important to make this tour feel new, having characters introduced in ways that felt thrilling and surprising.
He calls the production an explosion of passion and rock, saying the performance is more of "a celebration and a deeper sort of emotional understanding of the music."
With an album that's earned a worldwide fan base, serving as the musical's score.
Songs from the show include, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," and "Heaven on Their Minds."
"'Gethsemane' is an epic song," says Egler.
McOnie says the followers of Christ are kind of portrayed "almost like an operatic chorus" in the production.
The dancing ensemble provides powerful storytelling.
"There's a lot of dancing in this," says McOnie.
He describes the show as "a cross between a gig and a ballet."
Although the show is based in religion, choreographer McOnie says it's really about faith.
He says the show is not just for Christians since it is told by people of many different faiths.
McOnie also says that regardless of your relationship with that story, "you will find something in this that feels like it is for you."
"Jesus Christ Superstar" runs May 2-7 at the Miller Theater on the Kimmel Cultural Campus.
Jesus Christ Superstar | Tickets
250 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102