The role of Jesus will be cast via ITV’s forthcoming primetime show Superstar, which will give the UK public the chance to decide who will play the starring role, with a panel of judges led by the show’s composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Spice Girl Melanie C, who was nominated for both an Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award for Blood Brothers, will take the only female lead as Mary Magdalene, while BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Chris Moyles makes his major stage debut as King Herod.
Announcing the latest casting, Lloyd Webber said: “Tim (Rice) 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 UK 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 UK entertainment. The re-mastered album sounds fantastic and we hope that fans both old and new will enjoy it.”
Melanie C said: “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 UK with such a talented and formidable cast including Tim and Chris.”
The tour kicks off at London’s O2 Arena on 21 September, before visiting: Glasgow SECC (25 September), Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (28 September), Manchester Arena (30 September), Cardiff Motorpoint (2 October), Birmingham NIA (4 October), Belfast Odyssey (9 October), Dublin O2 (12 October), Liverpool Echo Arena (16 October) and Sheffield Motorpoint (21 October).
Tickets for the UK tour priced £45-65 go on sale at 9.00am on Friday 18 May.
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/Rice collaborations.