Peaches’ “stripped-down” performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar has been “crucified before opening night”, the electro-rapper declared yesterday. The concert, which was to take place at Berlin’s Hebbel theatre, was cancelled after German rights-holders allegedly refused to license the songs.
“To perform Jesus Christ Superstar as a one-woman-song is a crazy enterprise,” Peaches admitted in her initial press release. Citing her teenage affection for the musical, the singer announced plans to sing the entire show, “from entering Jerusalem until the crucifixion”, in performances from 25-27 March. Accompanied by pianist Chilly Gonzales, “Peaches will sing all roles including: Jesus, Maria Magdalena, the disciples and the pharisees,” organisers said.
Unfortunately, Sir Andrew’s German colleagues were not enthusiastic. In a flurry of posts to Twitter, Peaches revealed that the musical’s rights-holders had refused to grant her permission to use the material. “[They] claim that this project is of no interest to them due to its unconventional form,” she wrote. “It’s a shame that the authorities feel threatened by this fresh approach. I know a lot of people who really love the music and would appreciate this stripped-down solo performance. I have so much respect for the music and lyrics from the original score and this was my way of honouring that.”
Earlier, Peaches framed the Jesus Christ Superstar production in the same terms as her previous concert performances, many of which were provocative or sexually explicit. “I’m a performer,” she said, “my concerts are extravagant and play with exaggerations. This project allows me to do without all this. I want to confront this task totally exposed, because it is a possibility. It’s a question of stamina.” There’s still time for rights-holders to turn the other cheek.