The title role will be cast by public vote on an ITV reality TV show "Superstar," with a panel of live show judges led by Lloyd Webber, who has previously done similar duties for casting shows for The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz, all of which he also produced for the stage with the exception of Oliver! that was produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
In a press statement, Lloyd Webber commented, "Jesus Christ Superstar began life as an album followed by a sell-out arena tour of the U.S. Our very first show was at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we played to over 13,000 people. Tim and I have always wanted to take Superstar back to its roots and we are both delighted that it will finally play an arena tour in the U.K. in venues where many of the world’s great rock acts have gone before. We're thrilled to have such great talent in the cast for the new show – they are all true ambassadors of U.K. entertainment."
Minchin, who will play Judas Iscariot, commented, "As a huge fan of Jesus Christ Superstar, I've always thought it needed 3 key things: a big cast and band; loads of volume; and me playing Judas. I've been in two small productions of the show, and understudied the big man both times. I am really bloody excited about this."
Melanie C, who will play Mary Magdalene, has also said in a press statement, "I have been lucky enough to perform at arenas across the globe and to star in London's West End but taking on the role of Mary Magdalene in the incredible Jesus Christ Superstar has to be one my most exciting challenges to date. I can't wait to take the show to some of my favourite venues in the U.K. with such a talented and formidable cast including Tim and Chris."
Moyles, who will make his major stage debut as King Herod, commented, "To receive a phone call from Andrew is very cool, but then when he asks you to be in his musical that's pretty amazing and there is only one thing to respond with... And that is yes! Absolutely! My mum’s gonna be well excited!" The production is directed by Laurence Connor, currently represented by his U.K. tour of The Phantom of the Opera, who also staged the 25th anniversary performance of at London's Royal Albert Hall. Previous credits include the 24th anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the 02 Arena and its subsequent new U.K. tour, and a U.K. national tour of Miss Saigon.
The show will be lit by Patrick Woodroffe, who has worked on shows for ACDC, Bob Dylan, Depeche Mode and the Rolling Stones and designed by Mark Fisher, who is currently working on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the 2012 Olympic Games, and has previosuly designed major tours for Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and U2.
After London, the production will visit Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Nottingham, before culminating in Sheffield Oct. 21.
To book tickets, which go on sale May 18, visit www.jesuschristsuperstar.com.