MS-200: The Gettysburg Superstar Collection

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(2 boxes, 1 cubic foot)

Processed by: Devin McKinney, Archives Assistant

March 2017

Location:  Special Collections, Collections Room

Inclusive dates:  1971-2016

Bulk dates:  1971, 2014-2016

Provenance

Contents were donated by Larry Recla, Mark Teich ’73, Clay Sutton ’71, Thomas Bell ’71, Jim Henderson ’71, Jill Drew ’71, and Devin McKinney.

Collection size

The collection consists of 2 boxes containing 24 folders and 4 unfoldered items.

Historical note

Approximately two weeks after the release of Jesus Christ Superstar, a two-record “rock opera,” a group of Gettysburg College students, overseen by Larry Recla, an intern from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, decided to perform the album live in the college chapel.  But before rehearsals began, performance rights were revoked, and legal action threatened against unauthorized amateur groups.  Nonetheless it was decided to do the show as a “dress rehearsal,” and the March 25, 1971, performance attracted spectators from across Pennsylvania and adjoining states.  Two subsequent performances were likewise highly attended.  Ultimately, the production played to an estimated 5,000 people.

Over the years, the college archives collected various materials relating to the production.  In 2013, Archives Assistant Devin McKinney began to interview participants and gather additional materials.  This research resulted in a Special Collections exhibit; a gathering of participants for a presentation and panel discussion at Reunion Weekend in June 2016; and a book, Jesusmania! The Bootleg Superstar of Gettysburg College, published by Musselman Library in November 2016.

Scope and content note

The collection is arranged into three series:  I. The Production (materials growing from the 1971 performances); II. The Reunion (materials relating to the Reunion Weekend event); and III. The Book (materials gathered during McKinney’s research and writing). Within these are subseries focusing on such items as research materials and notes; photographs and recordings; interview transcripts; and miscellany.

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Series I: The Production

This series is divided into four subseries.

Subseries A, Documents, is divided into six sub-subseries:  Rehearsal documents; Correspondence; Audience letters; Chapel documents; News articles; and Special Collections correspondence. 

Subseries B, Photographs, is divided into three sub-subseries:  Prints; Slides; and Digital images. 

Subseries C, Recordings, is divided into three sub-subseries:  Jesus Christ Superstar, Gettysburg College, March 25, 1971; Jesus Christ Superstar, Gettysburg College, May 16, 1971; and Other recordings by Superstar musicians.

Subseries D, Miscellaneous Items, contains the LIFE Magazine issue of May 28, 1971, with Jesus Christ Superstar on its cover; an original long-playing record of Jesus Christ Superstar, including libretto; an original eight-track cassette of Jesus Christ Superstar; an engraved plate presented by the cast to Larry Recla; and a paperbound copy of Jesusmania!

Series II: The Reunion

This series consists of one subseries. 

Subseries A, Video and Images, contains a DVD, “Jesus Christ Superstar: 45 Years Later,” of the Reunion Weekend presentation and panel; a CD of digital images captured at the Reunion Weekend exhibit and Superstar event; and a printed copy of the PowerPoint slides used in the presentation. 

Series III: The Book

This series is divided into two subseries. 

Subseries A, Interview Transcripts, contains transcripts of interviews conducted for the book, foldered alphabetically by subject’s last name.

Subseries B, Notes and Drafts, contains printed page proofs with final corrections; draft pages with photographs; cover variants and proofs; and miscellaneous research and other notes.

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