The full casting has now been announced for an upcoming UK Arena tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which will kick off late next month.
The first performance will be held at London’s O2 arena on September 21, where it will stay for a four-night residency. After that, the tour will visit Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield. The trek is scheduled to run for exactly a month, with the final show on October 21. An additional London show at Wembley Arena will be held October 17.
Ben Forster will play Jesus in the production. His casting was chosen by a public vote on the ITV channel’s “Superstar” casting program. Alexander Hanson will play Pilate. He was last seen on Broadway as Fredrick Egerman in the Broadway revival of “A Little Night Music” in 2009.
Judas will be played by Tim Minchin and Melanie Chisholm will take on the role of Mary Magdalene. King Herod will be played by Chris Moyles.
The legendary musical features music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The story is loosely based on the Gospels’ account of the final week of Jesus’ life. It first opened on Broadway in 1971, and a recent revival opened on March 22 at the Neil Simon Theatre. It closed on July 1 after 116 performances.
The production began in 1969 as Webber and Rice were relative unknowns who wrote “Jesus Christ Superstar” as a rock double record.
“No one was interested in doing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ on stage when we started, so Tim Rice and I did it as a record,” Webber later said. Rice says he was inspired by both a long time fascination with the story and the Bob Dylan song “With God On Our Side.”
“From a very young age I had wondered what I might have done in the situations in which Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot found themselves,” Rice said in his autobiography. “How were they to know Jesus would be accorded divine status by millions and that they would as a result be condemned down the ages?”