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Tearjerker / Jesus Christ Superstar

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  • Knowing what's going to happen.
  • Judas practically begging the priests for reassurance that he's doing the right thing in "Damned For All Time." Villain? Hardly.
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  • 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..."
    • John Legend's performance in the 2018 live special is also pretty powerful.
    • Mark Seibert gives pretty good competition for the ones above. It's a concert video, but it gets hard to watch due to the extremely raw emotions. note 
  • "Could We Start Again, Please?" if the production includes it.
    • In 2017, a Grand Finale event was staged featuring Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen. The show closed with the three of them singing this. Four months later, Dennen passed away.
  • "Judas' Death."
    • The original soundtrack and many productions afterward has Judas practically sobbing as the song nears its end, screaming that God has made a pawn of him and murdered him.
    • Tim Minchin's rendition, particularly the reprise of "I Don't Know How To Love Him."
    • Peter Johansson's version from the 2014 Swedish arena tour is devastating, as Judas breaks down in tears and huddles on the ground, audibly sobbing. The look on his face as he goes to hang himself is one of utter despair.
  • 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.
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  • 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!
  • The 2018 concert has Jesus hugging Judas tight just before he's arrested. The two men have to be physically pulled apart when the guards come.
  • In the 2018 live television concert, Judas breaks down weeping during his reprise of "I Don't Know How to Love Him."
  • The lashing scene in the Oper Bonn/Oper Dortmund production, a Fan Disservice and Tear Jerker rolled into one. Shirtless Mark Seibert (Jesus)? Yum. Shirtless Jesus being whipped and screaming out with each lash, and then toppling over to reveal a bloody, mangled back? Not.
  • The live TV concert's crucifixion is GUT WRENCHING. Judas and the entire chorus that belted out "Superstar" seconds before, stand transfixed and mortified as John Legend's blood-soaked Jesus appears, shuddering and writhing as off-screen hecklers cackle at his suffering. He wails his final words (Father, forgive them... where is my mother... my God, I'm so thirsty...) Then, when "IT IS FINISHED!" the music blares and the lights strobe, and he chokes out the climactic "Father, into your hands... I commend my spirit." Then his head drops. Before you have time to catch a breath, a somber, devastated-sounding reprise of "Gethsemane" pipes in as the crucifix ascends. The set background parts to form a cross of blue light, and Jesus is pulled backward out of sight, metaphorically denying the audience the catharsis of the Resurrection as it closes up again, yet at the same time suggesting that Jesus returns to the light through the bright light that emerges from the cross-like background. It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful, tragic yet also bittersweet stagings of Jesus' death ever.
  • The sheer regret and misery in Judas's voice during the "Every time I look at you, I don't understand..." bit of "The Last Supper" in the 1973 film. It is painfully clear that he does not want to betray Jesus, and Carl Anderson sounds as if he might break into tears.

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