The Really Useful Group and AEG Live today announce the first ever UK arena tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's legendary rock classic Jesus Christ Superstar.
Award-winning musical comedian Tim Minchin - also the co-writer of West End smash musical Matilda - is confirmed for the role of 'Judas Iscariot'. Three million album selling pop icon and former Spice Girl Melanie C will take the only female lead as 'Mary Magdalene', and BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show host Chris Moyles will make his major stage debut as 'King Herod', in what is set to be one of the biggest and most impressive arena tours to hit the UK.
The ITV primetime show 'Superstar' will give the UK public the chance to decide who will play the starring role of 'Jesus', with a panel of live show judges led by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Celebrating 40 years since it first opened in London's West End, the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour kicks off in London on 21 September before visiting Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Nottingham. The tour culminates in Sheffield on 21 October.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said:
"Jesus Christ Superstar began life as an album followed by a sell-out arena tour of the US. Our very first show was at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we played to over 13,000 people. Tim 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."
Tim Minchin said:
"As a huge fan of Jesus Christ Superstar, I've always thought it needed 3 key things: a big cast and band; loads of volume; and me playing Judas. I've been in two small productions of the show, and understudied the big man both times. I am really bloody excited about this."
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."
Chris Moyles said:
"To receive a phonecall from Andrew is very cool, but then when he asks you to be in his musical that's pretty amazing and there is only one thing to respond with... And that is yes! Absolutely! My mum's gonna be well excited!"
The original multi-million selling Jesus Christ Superstar double-album, released in 1970, became a No.1 hit record in the US charts and spawned the live show phenomenon. The album features Ian Gillan as 'Jesus', Murray Head as 'Judas Iscariot', Mike d'Abo as 'Herod' and Yvonne Elliman as 'Mary Magdalene', plus legendary rock music session musicians such as Neil Hubbard (Bryan Ferry, BB King, Elton John), Chris Spedding (Roxy Music, John Cale), Alan Spenner (Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton) and Bruce Rowland (Paul McCartney's Wings, Fairport Convention). The album has been digitally re-mastered and will be released on 16 July through Polydor.
The Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour is a co-production between AEG Live, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Really Useful Group. 'Superstar' is an ITV Studios Production for ITV1. Jesus Christ Superstar the album is released by Polydor, a division of Universal Music.