Tearjerker / Jesus Christ Superstar

  • Knowing what's going to happen.
    • "Heaven on Their Minds" can be pretty tragic with this in mind.
    • However, it can be Heartwarming in Hindsight when you consider what will happen three days later.
    • Subverted again when the soundtrack ends without any sign that the resurrection happened, just the somber closing piece and that's curtain.
  • Judas practically begging the priests for reassurance that he's doing the right thing in "Damned For All Time." Villain? Hardly.
  • The "Trials and Tribulations" refrain in "The Last Supper" is pretty tragic, knowing that this is the last time the disciples will be happy for quite some time.
  • "Gethsemane." Dear Lord, Gethsemane.
    • Steve Balsamo's 2004 performance in Ahoy, Holland is particularly heartbreaking.
    • "Surely I've exceeded expectations?"
    • "God, Thy will is hard... but You hold every card..."
  • "Could We Start Again, Please?" if the production includes it.
  • "Judas' Death."
  • John 19:41. Jesus Christ is dead. The end.
    • The ending of the original movie, with all the hippies, except for the one portraying Jesus, slowly getting back on the bus, with Judas remaining the longest, wistfully looking at the cross before the bus drives away...
  • Simon's song has all of Jesus' followers singing his praises and dancing their hearts out alongside Simon, Mary, and the apostles, with everyone full of joy and energy. It's a tear jerker because later on, these same people (minus Mary and the apostles) all end up screaming for Jesus to be crucified.
  • Almost any good cast will put some real feeling and friendship into the Jesus-Judas relationship; when you realize that Judas was a pawn in a desperate gamble by the Jewish authorities; a guy who didn't want to have his friend killed and just wanted everything to be the way it was back when they were quiet and safe... and then you realize that he's been demonized by everyone ever since.
  • The kiss, especially, is gut-wrenching. It's never played with anger, or any kind of joy, just regret, love, and resignation.
  • Any time Judas starts running in the 1973 movie, especially toward the end of the production. It's a staggering, unsteady motion at the best of times and a desperate, almost-falling scramble at the worst.
  • Pilate, from start to finish. To elaborate, he opens by singing about a dream he had about crucifying Jesus, which he doesn't want to do, but as anyone who knows the story will tell you, he will anyways. He gets increasingly angry at the fact that no matter how hard he tries, he can't change anything. Even as the crowds riot and threaten to rebel, he still tries desperately to save Jesus. In the 2000 version, he starts visibly flinching halfway through the flogging, and afterward (in both versions) cradles Jesus in his arms, despite him being covered in blood, gripping his hand and begging him to let him help. It's only when Jesus tells him he can't be saved that Pilate finally turns on him, though it seems more like he's giving up in despair.
    Pilate: Don't let me stop your great self-destruction! Die if you want to!