This sound was introduced late because it was extremely difficult for the singers to come in together backstage, and it turned out to work really well for the show. It was created by modifying a recording of the actors singing, and used at the end of Act 1 when Judas betrays Jesus (and a reprise "So long Judas" was also used in Act 2after Judas commits suicide)
How do you make a hammering sound "biblical"? Slow it down and add reverb! This was used after the glitzy "Superstar" number to bring the audience's attention back to Jesus's imminent crucifixion. The sound was mentioned in the review:
Then Danner [the director] brings both Judas and the audience back to harsh reality with the echoing sound of the hammers nailing Jesus to the cross.
To create tension and atmosphere as Jesus is raised onto the cross, I individually recorded four notes in a cluster chord from an actress in the show, and then played them back together. The notes are individually added as the cross is raised, and then when it was up this sound was played in synchronization with the lighting. The sequence was based on the score but heavily reworked.
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