Friday, February 06, 2015

The Teddy Neeley Five - Teddy Neeley (1966)

Neeley signed his first record deal in 1965, at age 22, with Capitol Records. He and his group, The Teddy Neeley Five, recorded an album titled Teddy Neeley. They played the club circuit for years, and at one point their name (on a marquee) appeared in an episode of Dragnet. In 1968 Neeley starred in the Los Angeles productions of Larry Norman’s rock musicals Alison and Birthday for Shakespeare, with Norman, Richard Hatch and Kay Cole.

Then, in 1969, Neeley played the lead role of Claude in both the New York and Los Angeles productions of Hair. His work with that show’s director, Tom O’Horgan, led to him being called when O’Horgan was hired to stage Jesus Christ Superstar for Broadway. Ironically, Neeley originally auditioned for the role of Judas, seeing it as a great opportunity to create a character few understand.

However, when Ben Vereen was chosen for the role, Neeley signed on as chorus and also became the Christ understudy. This particular opportunity led to him taking on the title role in the Los Angeles stage version (which played at the Universal Amphitheatre) after receiving a standing ovation during a performance earlier in the tour.

Castmate and close friend Carl Anderson was touring also as a Judas understudy.
He also created the title role in Tommy in Los Angeles, which in turn led him to reprise the title role in the film version of Superstar, directed by Norman Jewison, alongside Anderson as Judas. For his performance in the film, he was nominated for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical or Comedy, as well as Best Newcomer, at the 1974 Golden Globe Awards. 

The Teddy Neeley Five 67

The Teddy Neeley Five - Teddy Neeley (1966)

    Bring The Whole Family
    Slow Movin’ Man
    Where You Are
    Over The Mountain
    Sound Of Bugles
    Grand Hotel
    Magic Touch
    Young And Carefree
    My Baby And I
    New In Town
    Look Here Comes The Sun

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