Jesus Christ Superstar U.S. Arena Tour Abruptly Canceled

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30 May 2014

Ben Forster
Ben Forster

The arena staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar, which was to launch a 50-city North American summer tour June 9 in New Orleans, has been canceled, producers announced May 30. 

The cast was to be led by Ben Forster, who played the role of Jesus in the U.K. tour of Superstar after winning the ITV "Superstar" competition. He was to be joined by Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child and Fela! as Mary Magdalene, NSYNC band member JC Chasez as Pontius Pilot, the Sex Pistols' John (Rotten) Lydon as King Herod and Incubus' Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot.

The production was to be based on a U.K. tour of the musical that was presented last year. Cast members had been rehearsing portions of the tour in recent weeks and were informed of the cancelation May 30. 

Representatives for the production declined to elaborate on reasons for the last-minute cancelation. 

Directed by Laurence O'Connor, who has also re-envisioned the returns of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and the new tour of Phantom, Superstar was announced to have choreography by Kevan Allen and lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe.

The tour had booked engagements in New York City's Madison Square Garden Aug. 5. Additional cities planned include Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Toronto, ON; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas, NV; Boston, MA; and Philadelphia, PA.

According to presenters, "A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for over 40 years, Jesus Christ Superstar is reimagined for the 21st century as an arena rock spectacular."

The biblical rock opera, which features a score by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Rice, debuted on Broadway in 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for a 711-performance run. A 2000 revival, which played the Ford Center, lasted 161 performances. The last Broadway outing, which was presented in 2012, ended its Broadway run after 116 performances.