As previously reported, Lloyd Webber will search for the star of a new U.K. arena stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar via a new reality TV program entitled "Superstar," which will air on the commercial ITV channel.
"We're looking for somebody to play the role of Jesus who can hold a great big rock arena," Lloyd Webber told STV. "We're not talking about a theatre-show, here—it's going to be in O2 [Arena in London], and it'll actually play Glasgow at one point. We've got a 28-day tour."
He added, "He's got to be incredibly charismatic—that is obviously clear. And, he's also got to have a fantastic singing voice." To watch the complete interview with Lloyd Webber, click here.
The "Superstar" search follows his four previous reality TV searches staged on BBC1, for his productions of The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Wizard of Oz, as well as Cameron Mackintosh's production of Oliver!, respectively won by Connie Fisher, Lee Mead, Danielle Hope and Jodie Prenger.
Lloyd Webber was himself a judge on all the previous shows, and will lead the panel again here. The other judges are yet to be announced, though one is expected to be Steve Balsamo, who played the title role in Lloyd Webber's last West End production of the show and subsequently reprised it on Broadway. In a statement Lloyd Webber said, "Some of the best performances of this show have been in rock venues and I’m thrilled to see the show return to its roots. ITV is providing the perfect platform for us to find a new, British Superstar."
The plan is for the production to open at London's O2 Arena and then tour to some of the UK's biggest venues. The show is also opening on Broadway this season in a separate production, originally seen at Stratford, Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival last summer, beginning performances March 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre, prior to an official opening March 22.
Auditions for the TV show are to take place across the country during February and March in London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. It is expected that the live shows will air in the autumn, and the tour is scheduled for late this year and early next year.
ITV's director of entertainment Elaine Bedell commented, "We are asking ITV viewers to help us find a new superstar – in every sense of the word. We’re looking for the kind of performer who can fill arenas – and produce a rocking performance to match."