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Ted Neeley

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Ted Neeley came to the public's attention when he played and sang the title role in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, both on-stage and onscreen, and then followed it up with a role in the original theatrical production of the Who's Tommy.
A singer, drummer, actor, composer, vocal arranger, and record producer, Neeley was born September 20, 1943 in Ranger, Texas. He signed his first record deal in 1965, at age 22, with Capitol Records, releasing an album, the self-titled Teddy Neeley, on the imprint with his group the Teddy Neeley Five. Possessing a baritone singing voice that could rise octaves into a controlled, on-pitch rock-era scream when necessary, Neeley began taking musical theater roles in Los Angeles, which in turn led him to audition for the Broadway staging of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he was selected as the understudy for the title role, which he claimed for the L.A. stage version that had a run at the Universal Amphitheatre, then reprised for the 1973 movie. Neeley released a solo album, 1974 A.D., in, when else, 1974, then took the role of Billy Shears in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road. He continued doing musical theater, acting as well in various television dramas during the 1970s and 1980s, including Starsky and Hutch, and appeared as Curly in the NBC television movie production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Meanwhile, he performed live shows with his band Pacific Coast Highway. Neeley reprised his most famous role in the updated touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1990s, and did it again for a stripped-down version of the musical that toured from 2006 to 2010. He released a five-track EP, Rock Opera, in 2013, which included a version of the Who's "See Me, Feel Me," a duet with fellow Jesus Christ Superstar alum Yvonne Elliman on "Up Where We Belong," a take on the Bryan Adams hit "Do I Have to Say the Words?," a rendition of the Christmas classic "O Holy Night," and, thanks to some modern engineering tricks, a duet with the late Carl Anderson on "God's Gift to the World." ~ Steve Leggett

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