Rumours are rife that Andrew Lloyd Webber is already planning his next TV casting show – this time for a production of his 1971 musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Lloyd Webber, who is currently judging contestants on the BBC’s I’d Do Anything (See our Blog), is credited with launching the phenomenon of TV musical casting with his 2006 show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, in which ten actresses competed for the lead role in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

The concept of TV casting has courted its fair share of controversy, with the BBC having recently drawn fierce criticism from Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey over its apparent willingness to publicise certain West End shows in return for viewing figures (See News, 31 Mar 08). But despite this, musical supremo Lloyd Webber appears determined to press ahead with further projects, having recently told The Sun newspaper, “I have an idea to do Jesus Christ Superstar next year and then maybe another all-new show which I’m really excited about.”

The last major London production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which tells of the political and interpersonal struggles of Judas Iscariot and Jesus, was at the Lyceum Theatre in 1997. The show includes hits such as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, “Gethsemane” and “Superstar”, and has proved one of the most popular of the Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice collaborations.