Production History

1970 Concept Album
1971 Broadway
1972 West End
1973 Film
1996 West End Revival
2000 Broadway Revival
2000 Movie
2012 2nd Broadway Revival
2012 UK Arena Tour
2013 2nd UK & Australian Arena Tour
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber


Listen Jesus to the warning I give
Please remember that I want us to live

-- Judas, Heaven On Their Minds



© Dewynters.

A Musical About Jesus Christ?

Once Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber had a secured a three-year songwriting contract with Sefton Myers and David Land based on the potential they showed from the Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat album, the obvious question was what would the subject of their next show be? Since his school days, Tim had been fascinated by the Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate, and now he had the chance to write something about them. Very shortly after the contract with Land and Myers was signed, Tim and Andrew wrote the single "Superstar" with MCA's to backing. (Among the MCA team was Brian Brolly who would later serve on Andrew's Really Useful Group's board of directors). Sung by Murray Head, the single (with a B side of the instrumental "John 19:41") was released in the UK on 21 November of 1969, and in the US on 1 December 1969. Dean Martin Sullivan, who had been responsible for November 1968 concert of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at St. Paul's Cathedral, wrote a note of endorsement for the single. Murray Head performed the number on the David Frost show a few days before the single's release.

Although the idea was considered by everyone in the theatre business as too risky of a gamble to stage, the single's success (despite it being banned by many radio stations) hooked MCA on the idea, and plans were made for a double album set. The production costs for the concept album were enormous, and the album was over budget (the album cost about $65,000) and took longer than anticipated -- from March to July of 1970. Murray Head sang the part of Judas, Ian Gillan (from Deep Purple) was Jesus, Yvonne Elliman was Mary Magedaline, and Barry Dennen sang the part of Pontius Pilate. There were 60 sessions, made of an 85 piece symphony orchestra, 6 rock musicians, 11 principal singers, 16 chorus singers, 3 choirs, a moog synthesizer, and organ music recorded at a church. (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice had flown to America during the sessions to watch the first US performance of Joseph at a school in Queens.)

The Jesus Christ Superstar concept album was unveiled first quietly in London, and then a few weeks later in New York at St. Peter's on 27 October 1970 to a lot of fanfare. This was followed by similar ceremonies in Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta. Before the St. Peter's reception, the media had been minimally interested, afterward everyone wanted to talk to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. They returned back to New York after the tour to fulfill these requests. Jesus Christ Superstar went on to become the best-selling album in the US for 1971.

The Road To Broadway

Robert Stigwood was impressed with the concept album, and was chosen to produce the show. Stigwood not only signed up Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but brought David Land onboard his company as well. (Sefton Myers passed away that winter.) Although the album was fairly successful in America, it did not do that well in the UK. It was therefore decided that the show should open on Broadway. Before the show opened, there was a touring concert production. This truly official tour (unlike the "official" ones Stigwood was tracking down and trying to disban) opened at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh on 12 July 1971.
Invitation To 1st Night Party, 1971

Frank Corsaco was slated to direct the Broadway show. After being in a car accident, Corsaco was replaced by Tom O'Horgan, the director of Hair. O'Horgan's designs were larger than life and symbolic. The first preview of the show was cancelled. The show finally opened at the Mark Hellinger on 12 October 1971. It starred Ben Vereen as Judas, Jeff Fenholt as Jesus, and Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen in their original roles.

When the show opened in the West End on 9 August 1972 at the Palace Theatre, it was a smaller, less flashy production. It starred Stephen Tate as Judas, Paul Nicholas as Jesus, and Danna Gillespie as Mary. This time the director was Jim Sharman. On 3 October 1978, with its 2,620 performance, it beat Oliver! as the longest-running musical in British theater history.

The show and its music garnered three Ivor Novello awards -- International Hit of the Year 1971/1972, Best Score for a British Musical 1973/1974, and an award for "I Don't Know How To Love Him" 1971/1972.

© Dewynters.
Superstar was made into a movie and released in the United States on 15 August of 1973 after a premiere screening in New York City on 7 August 1973. Although the hype surrounding the Jesus-as-a-superstar controversy had died down by this time, the film took in over $13,200,000.00 in the States. Carl Anderson was Judas, Ted Neeley played Jesus, and once again Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen were Mary and Pilate respectively. The movie was shot on location at Beit Guvrin in Israel, and combined the familiar Biblical with modern-day elements by including tanks, drugs, and machine guns.

In 1992, the 20th Anniversary recording was released. It featured Keith Burns as Judas, Paul Nicholas reprising his role as Jesus, and Claire Moore as Mary. The song "Could We Start Again Please" was placed at the end of the recording, and Tim Rice wrote two new verses for it. Around the same time, a touring production was also done of the show, starring Ted Neeley.

Superstar's Second Coming

A revival production by the Really Useful Theatre Company of Jesus Christ Superstar opened 19 November 1996 at the Lyceum in London. Directed by Gale Edwards (who had been discovered by Andrew Lloyd Webber when she directed his Aspects Of Love in Australia) and choreographed by Aletta Collins, it starred Steve Balsamo as Jesus, Zubin Varla as Judas, and Joanna Ampil as Mary Magdalene. The musical director was Simon Lee, the musical supervisor was Mike Dixon. John Napier was the designer, and David Hersey designed the lighting. Steve Balsamo and Zubin Varla were succeeded by Glenn Carter and Ramon Tikaram during the run. The production received a 1997 Olivier nomination for "Outstanding Musical Production". The show closed after a 16 month run on 28 March 1998.

The Really Useful Theatre Company launched a touring production, directed by Gale Edwards and designed by Peter J. Davison, beginning in Newcastle at the Theatre Royal on 18 August 1998. After the end of the Newcastle run on 5 September, the tour moved on to Southend, Aberdeen (29 September - 17 October 1998, His Majesty's Theatre), Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford, and ended in Belfast on 6 February 1999. Later, Edinburgh was included on the route, with the show beginning 9 February, and ending 27 February 1999. Anthony Van Laast, many-time collaborator on Andrew Lloyd Webber projects and the choreographer for the British tour of Chess, was signed on to choreograph. Mark McCullough and Roger Kirk were responsible for lighting and costumes respectively. Working with the philosophy of casting "purely on ability and not on star names", the tour starred Lee Rhodes as Jesus, Ben Goddard as Judas, Golda Rosheuval as Mary, and Fred Johanson as Pilate.

In the summer of 1999, the Really Useful Theatre Company announced its plans to bring the touring revival production to North America, and then open Superstar on Broadway for Easter of 2000. The show was to first open in Toronto on 14 December 1999 (rehearsals beginning 11 November 1999), and then move on to Boston and Chicago for three week runs before settling on Broadway. At the end of August the plan was changed, dropping the Toronto and Boston stops, and later Chicago was dropped as well. Open call auditions were held 12:30-6:00pm on 20 August 1999 in New York City at Chelsea Studios on 151 West 26th Street.

A New Film & Broadway Production

While plans for Broadway were being formed, Really Useful began work on preserving the new Jesus Christ Superstar on film. Shot at Pinewood Studios, and directed by Gale Edwards, it starred Glenn Carter as Jesus, Jerome Pradan as Judas, Renee Castle as Mary, and Rik Mayall as Herod. Shooting finished on 14 December 1999. It was to have been released in the UK around Easter, but was instead released 16 October 2000. The soundtrack was released at the same time, but experienced significant problems as the shipment consisted of blank CDs. The film was released in the UK on 16 October 2000, and in the US on 20 March 2001. It was released world wide throughout 2000 and 2001 : Brazil - 10 October 2000; Austria - 6 November 2000; Germany - 6 November 2000; Belgium - 9 November 2000; Holland - 9 November 2000; Spain - 22 November 2000; Hong Kong - 24 November 2000; Switzerland - November/December 2000; Singapore - 1 December 20001; France - 5 December 2000; Italy - 5 December 2000; New Zealand - 7 march 2001; Denmark - 10 April 2001; Australia - 11 April 2001; Norway - 11 April 2001; Sweden - 11 April 2001.

On 14 December 1999, Jesus Christ Superstar was officially endorsed by the Vatican. It was approved by the Vatican to be included in the year 2000 jubilee which is held every 25 years.

Broadway's Ford Centre   © 2000 JJB.
Rehearsals for the Broadway Jesus Christ Superstar began on 14 February 2000. Superstar became the second show to be at the Ford Centre, which had been constructed for the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical Ragtime. The box office opened on 21 February. The show was once again directed by Gale Edwards and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The sets were by Peter J.Davidson, and costumes by Roger Kirk. Mark McCullough was the lighting designer. Andrew Lloyd Webber was to be responsible for the orchestrations.

The original casting announced for the production was Glenn Carter as Jesus, Jason Pebworth as Judas, Maya Days (who later joined the Broadway cast of Aida in the title role) as Mary, Paul Kandel as Heord, and Kevin Gray as Pilate. As previews began, Jason Pebworth left the cast, and Tony Vincent -- who had been playing Simon -- took over the role of Judas.

The new Broadway version of Superstar began previews on 23 March 2000, and opened 16 April 2000. It received nominations as a Revival of a Musical for both the 50th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards and the 54th annual Tony Awards, and Tony Vincent (Judas) received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. The 27 August 2000 performance was to benefit the Actor's Fund. Jesus Christ Superstar closed on Sunday, 3 September 2000 having played 28 previews and 161 performances. Plans for a US tour had been being developed with a Los Angeles opening in October 2001.

Even More Tours

Yet another UK tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was kicked off in 2001. It began in Edinburgh from 10 February 2001 to 3 March 2001 at the Edinburgh Playhouse, with Arvid Larsen (Jesus), Mark O'Malley (Judas), and Cat Simmons (Mary). The tour continued as follows: North Wales Theatre,13 March - 31 March; Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, 3 April - 21 April; Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 24 April - 12 May; King's Theatre, Glasgow, 15 May - 2 June; Milton Keynes Theatre, 5 June - 23 June; Theatre Royal, Nottingham, 26 June - 21 July; Bristol Hippodrome, 24 July - 18 August; Grand Opera House, Belfast, 21 August - 8 September; Regent Theatre, Stoke-in-Trent, 11 September - 29 September; Manchester Opera House, 23 October - 17 November.

In what had seemingly become standard practice with filmed musicals and concerts (e.g. Cats and Sarah Brightman), American PBS television stations aired the video of Jesus Christ Superstar as part of the Great Performances series in April 2001, with most stations showing it on 11 April at 8 p.m.. Unlike many such airings, this time PBS aired the show after it was already commercially available (released 20 March 2001; even the soundtrack was out as of 27 March). The show received an Emmy nomination and one the Performing Arts Emmy at the 29th Annual International Emmy Awards held in New York at the Sheraton Hotel on 19 November 2001.

In the last days of July 2002, plans for the American tour of Jesus Christ Superstar began to take shape. Sebastian Bach (who had appeared as the title charater(s) in the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde) was the favorite for the role of Jesus. Bach's casting became official 13 August 2002. As Judas, Superstar veteran Carl Anderson was signed. Natlalie Toro (who had played Evita in the 1998 tour) was cast as Mary Magdalene. Produced by McCoy Rigby Entertainment, the Nederlander Organisation and the Really Useful Group, the tour was directed by Kevin Moriarty and choreographed by David Wilder. It featured sets by Peter J. Davison, lightening by Mark McCullough, sound design by Jon Gottlieg & Phil Allen, and costumes by Roger Kirk. After rehearsals in La Mirada, California, the tour began at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts from 1 November - 17 November 2002. The tour then moved on to Las Vegas at the Aladdin, followed by stops including San Antonino, Greenville, Orlando, Minneapolis, Louisville, Kalamazoo, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, Vancouver, Milwaukee, Houston and Los Angeles where it would finish in September 2003.

On 1 April 2003, the Broadway cast album was released on CD by Decca Broadway.

Reunion Concert & Continuing Tours

April 2003 also marked a reunion for Jesus Christ Superstar veterans Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen who, along with Danny Zolli (as Judas), Ron Bohmer (as Jesus), and Chuck Wagner (as Caiaphas), starred in a Jesus Christ Superstar concert by the The University Of Texas at El Paso Dinner Theatre (which had staged Blondel in 1985). Tickets for the event went on sale on 15 February 2003. The concert was held on Monday, 14 April 2003 at the UTEP Don Haskins Center and featured the UTEP Symphony Orchestra.

Spring and Summer of 2003 included an extension of the Kevin Moriarty directed American Jesus Christ Superstar tour, with stops in both the United States and Canda: Philadelphia, PA (Merriam Theatre - 18-23 March 2003), Columbus, OH (Palace Theatre - 25-30 March 2003), Atlanta, GA (The Fox Theatre, 1-6 April 2003), Baltimore, MD (Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, 8-13 April 2003), Boston, MA (Wang Center For The Performing Arts, 15-20 April 2003), Charlotte, NC (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, 22-27 April 2003), Richmond, VA (The Carpenter Centre - 29 April - 4 May 2003), Providence, RI (Providence Performing Arts Center, 6-11 May 2003), Norfolk, VA (Chrylser Hall, 13-18 May 2003), Vancouver, Canada (Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 27 May - 1 June 2003), Seattle, WA (Paramount Theatre, 3-8 June 2003), Portland, OR (Keller Auditorium (10-15 June 2003), Calgary, Canada (Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 17-22 June 2003), Ottawa, Canada (National Arts Centre, 24-29 June 2003), Appleton, WI (Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, 8-13 July 2003), Milwaukee, WI (Marcus Center For The Performing Arts, 15-20 July), Fort Worth, TX (Bass Performance Hall, 22-27 July 2003).

Bill Kenwright, the director of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tours since practically Biblical times, helmed a new 2004 UK Jesus Christ Superstar tour with included the following stops: Birmingham - 24 August; Wimbledon - 20 September; Manchester - 4 October; Nottingham - 18 October; Oxvord - 1 November; Woking - 15 November; Stoke-on-Trent - 29 November; Liverpool - 13 December. The tour's success provided a longer run, and it will continue its run through August 2005 - featuring Glenn Carter (Jesus Christ), James Fox (Judas) & Emma Dears (Mary Magdalene) - with the following summer dates: Cheltenham - 18-30 July (Everyman Theatre); Eastbourne - 1-13 August (The Congress Theatre); Truro 15-27 August (Hall for Cornwall Back Quay Truro).

© Universal 2004.
© Universal 2012.

New Motion Picture DVD Release

On 31 August 2004 in the United States and 7 March 2005 in the UK, the 1973 Jesus Christ Superstar film was re-released on DVD in a "Special Edition" format. Presented in widescreen format, with subtitles in English, French and Spanish, the DVD featured audio commentary by director Norman Jewison and by actor Ted Neeley (who plays Jesus in the film).

The "Special Edition" DVD was re-released on 10 January 2012 with the inclusion of a digital copy as part of the year-long Universal 100th Anniversary Celebration commemorating the studio's diverse catalogue. It was also available as part of the 100th anniversary releases in a special three-pack released on 6 March 2012 titled "Musicals Spotlight Collection" which, along with Jesus Christ Superstar, included Mamma Mia! The Movie (2008) and Flower Drum Song (1961/2006).

Benefit Concert

A special concert performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was held 13 August 2006 at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre, Hollywood, CA. Tickets for the event had gone on sale 30 July 2006. The concert was to benefit the YouTHeatre America and The Ricardo Montalban Foundation. The illustrious cast brought together several stars of the 1973 film. The performers included Ted Neeley (Jesus), Ben Vereen (Judas), Yvonne Elliman (Mary), Barry Dennen (Pilate), contemporary film actor / singer Jack Black (Herod), and Las Vegas entertainer Clint Holmes (Simon).

South African Production

In the summer of 2011, Peter Toerien produced a South African tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. Toerien was not a new-comer to the show as he had previously produced a tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in Greece and South Korea in 2006.

Directed by Paul Warwick Griffin, the cast included Cito as Jesus, Jonathan Roxmouth as Judas, and Nadine as Mary.

Jesus Christ Superstar played at the Opera House of the Artscape Theatre Complex in Cape Town from 12-28 May 2011. The production then transfered to the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg where it played from 3-26 June 2011.

Jesus Christ Superstar By Shakespeare?

Despite its title, the annual Stratford Shakespeare Festival held in Ontario, Canada, is by no means limited to presentations of the Bard's works. In fact, it was a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar which was the break-out hit from the 2011 Festival.

Directed by Des McAnuff, the Festival's Artistic Director, Jesus Christ Superstar played a sold-out run at the Avon Theatre from 16 May through 6 November 2011, with a first night on 3 June. The show was to have only played until the end of October, but due to its popularity, an extra week of performances was added on 21 July 2011.

In addition to Des McAnuff, the creative team behind the production included Lisa Shriver as choreographer, Robert Brill as set designer, Paul Tazewell as costume designer, Howell Binkley as lighting designer, Sean Nieuwenhuis as video designer, Jim Nell as sound designer and Rick Fox and musical director. Rather than having actors designated as part of the ensemble, every character in the show was given a name. The 28 performers were:

Paul Nolan - Jesus
Brent Carver - Pontius Pilate
Aaron Walpole - Annas
 
Matt Alfano - Thaddeus
Mark Cassius - Matthew / Priest
Kaylee Harwood - Sarah
Stephen Patterson - James
            the Lesser / Priest
Jason Sermonia - John
Sandy Winsby - Andrew / Priest
 
Krista Leis (Swing)
Josh Young - Judas Iscariot
Bruce Dow - King Herod
Lee Siegel - Simon Zealotes
 
Mary Antonini - Elizabeth
Ryan Gifford - Bartholomew
Melissa O'Neil - Martha /
             Maid by the Fire
Katrina Reynolds - Esther
Julius Sermonia - James
 
 
Jennifer Rider-Shaw (Swing)
Chilina Kennedy - Mary Magdalene
Marcus Nance - Caiaphas
Mike Nadajewski - Peter
 
Jacqueline Burtney - Mary
              (Martha's sister)
Kyle Golemba - Thomas
Laurin Padolina - Rachel
Dominique Roy - Ruth
Jonathan Winsby - Phillip
 
 
Matthew Rossoff (Swing)

Jesus Christ Superstar was choreographed by Lisa Shriver with sets by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound design by Jim Neil, musical direction by Rick Fox and video design by Sean Nieuwenhuls. The cast included Paul Nolan as Jesus, Josh Young as Judas, Chilina Kennedy as Mary, Brent Carver as Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod and Marcus Nance as Caiaphas.
© 2011.

In bringing his new production of Jesus Christ Superstar to the stage, Des McAnuff maintained a close connection to the original 1970 concept album. He focused on highlighting the emotional triangle between Jesus, Judas and Mary while approaching the piece not as a musical but as an opera. After seeing the production on 12 June 2011, Andrew Lloyd Webber recommended it to Tim Rice. Tim made the journey to Ontario to see Jesus Christ Superstar on 22 June 2011 and, like Andrew, was genuinely impressed with the production.

On 12 July 2011, the cast appeared on CBC Radio Canada's "Q" programme. In addition to featuring songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, the programme also included an interview with Des McAnuff.

Due to the stamp of approval given to the production by its lyricist and composer, rumours of a Broadway transfer began circulating almost instantly. The announcement which came on 18 July 2011, however, was not that of a transfer to Broadway, but that Jesus Christ Superstar would play till the end of the year at the La Jolla Playhouse in California after finishing its run at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

McAnuff had ties to La Jolla, having served as its artistic director from 1983-1994 and also from 2001-2007. Jesus Christ Superstar played at La Jolla's Weiss Theatre from 18 November - 31 December 2011. Amazingly, on 12 November it was announced that the entire Stratford Shakespeare Festival cast with only three exceptions was able to travel with the production to California. In the role of Ruth, Karen Burthwright replaced Dominique Roy, and in the role of Thomas, Jaz Sealey replaced Kyle Golemba. Although swing Krista Leis did not go to La Jolla, she was not replaced. Brent Carver bowed out of the transfer citing the need for vocal rest, and the part of Pilate was instead played by Jeremy Kushnier. However, Kushnier took a leave of absence from the production in the beginning of December, and the role of Pilate was then taken over by Tom Hewitt. When Kushnier re-joined the production, he replaced Stephen Patterson as James the Lesser / Priest. The creative credits remained the same as in Ontario: choreography by Lisa Shriver, set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound design by Jim Neil, musical direction by Rick Fox and video design by Sean Nieuwenhus.

2nd Broadway Revival

1st Preview 1 March 2012 at Broadway's Neil Simon   © 2012 JJB.
The anticipated California transfer of Jesus Christ Superstar made it seem almost certain that Broadway was sure to follow. The announcement on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 therefore was not much of a surprise that Jesus Christ Superstar, produced by Dodger Productions and the Really Useful Group, would be taking up residence at Broadway's Neil Simon theatre with previews to begin on 1 March 2012 and a first night on 22 March 2012 (Andrew Lloyd Webber's 64th birthday).

Word of the production was so positive that New York's NY1 channel ran a feature on 29 October 2011 on its website. Written by its theatre writer Frank DiLella, the article included video from the Festival production and interview footage with Des McAnuff and Chilina Kennedy (Mary).

Group sale tickets to Jesus Christ Superstar for groups of fifteen or more went on sale at the end of October 2011. General tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar went on sale at 10.00am on Saturday, 3 December 2011 via Ticketmaster. A pre-sale for members of Audience Rewards, an organisation created by theatre producers the Nederlanders, Shuberts and Jujamcyn, began on 14 November 2011. Tickets went on sale to the general public on 26 January 2012.

On 22 December 2011 the full cast for the Broadway production was announced. Audiences were to be treated to the principals from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival:

Paul Nolan - Jesus
Tom Hewitt - Pontius Pilate
Aaron Walpole - Annas
 
Matt Alfano - Thaddeus
Mark Cassius - Matthew / Priest
Kaylee Harwood - Sarah
Jeremy Kushnier - James
            the Lesser / Priest
Jason Sermonia - John
Sandy Winsby - Andrew / Priest
 
Krista Leis (Swing)
Josh Young - Judas Iscariot
Bruce Dow - King Herod
Lee Siegel - Simon Zealotes
 
Mary Antonini - Elizabeth
Ryan Gifford - Bartholomew
Melissa O'Neil - Martha /
             Maid by the Fire
Katrina Reynolds - Esther
Julius Sermonia - James
 
 
Matthew Rossoff (Swing)
Chilina Kennedy - Mary Magdalene
Marcus Nance - Caiaphas
Mike Nadajewski - Peter
 
Jacqueline Burtney - Mary
              (Martha's sister)
Jaz Sealey - Thomas
Laurin Padolina - Rachel
Karen Burthwright - Ruth
Jonathan Winsby - Phillip
 
 
 

With the exception of Steve Canyon Kennedy replacing Jim Neil as sound designer, the creative credits remained the same as from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival: direction by Des McAnuff, choreography by Lisa Shriver, set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, musical direction by Rick Fox and video design by Sean Nieuwenhus.

Rehearsals for the Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar began on 9 February 2012 with a cast meet-and-greet, kicked off with Producer Michael David and director Des McAnuff addressing the company. The cast and members of the creative team were then introduced to the press on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2012, at a media event held at the New 42nd Street Studios. This was shortly followed by a "secret" concert of songs from the show performed at The Church of the Intercession on 17 February 2012. A contest to attend the concert had been held via the internet, with ten fans winning tickets for themselves and their guests. The following day, it was back to work for the globe-trotting Superstar cast who took up residence at the Neil Simon Theatre for rehearsals.

The first preview performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was held on Thursday, 1 March 2012. For 23 members of the company, this marked their Broadway debut. The set device known as the "diving board" which is supposed to elevate Jesus over the audience during "Superstar" malfunctioned, with the computer being signalled that the board was fully extended even though it had not moved. The show was stopped, and director Des McAnuff came onstage to make an announcement to the audience regarding the technical difficulties. Although the diving board was examined by the technicians, a second attempt at the number met with the same result. The third time, the cast performed "Superstar" without the diving board, with those who normally "guided" the device preserving the blocking and flanking Jesus on both sides. Despite the delays, the audience remained supportive, cheering loudly for Josh Young (Judas) who tackled the number with an abundance of fresh enthusiasm each successive time. Another show-stopping moment, but for all the right reasons, was the performance of Lee Siegel (Simon) of "Simon Zealotes". The audience's continued applause and cheers in appreciation of his passionate portrayal and resonating voice stopped the show for well over a minute. The production itself received an instant and exuberant standing ovation.

Jesus Christ Superstar had its official first night opening on 22 March 2012 (Andrew Lloyd Webber's 64th birthday).

The production was a favourite revival for nominations by the annual theatre awards. On 24 April 2012, Jesus Christ Superstar was nominated for Distinguished Revival Of A Musical for the 78th Annual Drama League Awards. It received a nomination on 27 April 2012 for Outstanding Revival Of A Musical for the 57th Annual Drama Desk Awards. On 1 May 2012, the production was nominated in the category of Best Revival Of A Musical for the 66th annual Tony Awards. Jesus Christ Superstar also received a Drama Desk nomination for Steve Canyon for Outstanding Sound Design In A Musical and a Tony Award nomination for Josh Young for Best Performance By An Actor In A Featured Role In A Musical.

On 19 June 2012, it was announced that a tentative closing date of 1 July 2012 had been set for Jesus Christ Superstar. That date was held firm, and the cast and crew of Jesus Christ Superstar gave their final performance that Sunday afternoon at 3.00 pm. The production had played for 24 preview performances and 116 regular performances.

Superstar UK Arena Tour

On 18 January 2012, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he was teaming up with television station ITV for a new reality casting show called "Superstar" to find a Jesus for an arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar to tour the UK in the autumn of 2012. On 12 March 2012, ITV confirmed that former Spice Girl Mel C (Melanie Chisholm) and performer Jason Donovan (1991 Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) would join casting directory David Grindrod and Andrew Lloyd Webber in choosing the contestants who would appear on "Superstar". The television casting show was not supported by Tim Rice. The arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar would be directed by Laurence Connor and feature set design by Mark Fisher and lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe.
© Dewynters.

There were major announcements on 16 May 2012 regarding the arena tour which was to be produced jointly by the Really Useful Group and AEG Live. It was revealed that Tim Minchin (Australian co-author of Matilda) had been cast as Judas, Spice Girl Mel C (Melanie Chisholm) as Mary Magdalene and Radio 1 presenter Chris Moyles as King Herod. Andrew Lloyd Webber, along with Tim Minchin, Mel C and Chris Moyles appeared at London's O2 Arena for the press event. This casting news put to bed the rumours that Pussycat Dolls' singer Nicole Scherzinger was to be Mary, even though they had been denied by her management. (A new film version of Jesus Christ Superstar had been under consideration for some time, as had been the arena tour idea. On 1 November 2011, it was reported in papers around the world that Nicole Scherzinger was to be cast as Mary Magdalene for the film. After news of the "Superstar" television show and arena tour became public, the press hypothesised that she was either to play Mary in the tour or to serve on the "Superstar" judging panel.) Tickets for the arena tour would go on sale at 9.00am on Friday, 18 May 2012, with the exception of tickets for the Belfast and Dublin venues which would begin sales at 9.00am 24 May 2012. The tour venues were to be: London at the O2 Arena - 21 September 2012; Glasgow at SECC - 25 September 2012; Newcastle at the Metro Radio Arena - 28 September 2012; Manchester at the M.E.N. Arena - 30 September 2012; Cardiff at the Cardiff Motorpoint - 2 October 2012; Birmingham at the NIA - 4 October 2012; Belfast at the Odyssey - 9 October 2012; Dublin at the O2 - 12 October 2012; Liverpool at the Liverpool Echo Arena - 16 October 2012; Nottingham at the Capital FM Arena - 19 October 2012; Sheffield at the Sheffield Motorpoint - 21 October 2012. It was also announced that a digitally remastered version of the original 1970 concept recording would be released by Polydor 16 July 2012.

News concerning the "Superstar" television show was released on 18 May 2012 when it was announced that Amanda Holden would serve as the show's host and that comedian Dawn French and performer Jason Donovan (1991 Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) would serve with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the judging panel. The executive producer for "Superstar" would be Peter Davey and the series producer Katharine Begg. "Superstar" was filmed at ITV's Fountain Studios in Wembley, Middlesex.

A second performance date at London's O2 for 22 September 2012 was added on 19 May 2012 as all of the venue's tickets had been snapped up within 24 hours of having gone on sale.

On 9 July 2012, it was announced that after the 10 finalists were presented on Saturday's show and beginning with the studio show on Sunday, 15 July 2012, Mel C would join the "Superstar" judges' panel.

A third O2 date for London was announced on 16 July 2012. It was to be a matinee performance on 22 September, tickets for which would go on sale starting 9.00am 17 July 2012.

The final episode of "Superstar" aired on 26 July 2012. Of the three finalists Ben Forster, Rory Taylor and Roger Wright, it was Ben Forster who was declared the winner and cast as Jesus for the arena tour.

On 27 July 2012, three further performance dates were added to the tour itinerary: Manchester at the M.E.N. Arena - 7 October 2012; Birmingham at the NIA - 5 October 2012; Nottingham at the Capital FM Arena - 20 October 2012.

With over 40,000 tickets for the London performances having been sold, a fourth London O2 date of 23 September 2012 was added on 1 August 2012, for which tickets would go on sale at 9.00am on 3 August 2012. A second performance in Dublin at the Dublin O2 was added for 13 October as well, with ticket sales beginning on 3 August 2012. A second date for Glasgow at SECC of 26 September 2012 was added two days later on 3 August 2012, with tickets immediately available.

Rehearsals for the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour began on 9 August 2012. At that time, over 100,000 tickets had already been sold with an advance of between £5 million and £6 million.

On 16 August 2012, a fifth date for London was added, this time at the Wembley Arena on 17 October 2012, with tickets going on sale at 9.00am 17 August 2012.

The full cast details for the arena tour were announced on 22 August 2012. These included Alex Hanson in the role of Pilate, Pete Gallagher as Caiaphas and Giovanni Spano as Simon as well as the inclusion of "Superstar" finalists Jeff Anderson and Tim Prottey-Jones in the ensemble.

The first "public performance" by the Jesus Christ Superstar cast was given by Tim Minchin, Mel C and Ben Forster on the Jonathan Ross show (ITV1) on 8 September 2012 where they sang "Everything's Alright". Andrew Lloyd Webber was a guest on the episode. The arena tour was also featured in a segment on the BBC One Breakfast show on 18 September 2012.

On 4 October 2012, it was revealed that Universal Pictures was to film Jesus Christ Superstar for limited cinema broadcast in the United States and Australia, and also for home DVD/Blu-Ray release. The arena tour would be filmed during its engagement in Birmingham at the NIA on 4 & 5 October 2012. In partnership with Fathom Events and dubbed "Jesus Christ Superstar UK Rock Spectacular", Jesus Christ Superstar was to have been shown in the United States in over 575 cinemas on Monday, 29 October and 1 November 2012. These performances were canceled, however, due to the hurricane/storm Sandy which devastated areas along north eastern coastline of the US during that time. In Australia, Jesus Christ Superstar played at approximately 60 cinemas during the week of 8 November 2012.

The DVD/Blu-Ray of the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour was released in the UK on 19 November 2012. It was released in the United States on 10 September 2013.
Arena Tour DVD © 2012.
On 4 December 2012, the Really Useful Group and AEG Live announced that the arena tour would return for another series of performances in 2013. This second tour would still star Ben Forster as Jesus, Tim Minchin as Judas, Mel C as Mary Magdalene, Chris Moyles as Herod and Alex Hanson as Pilate. The tour dates, for which tickets would go on sale at 9.00am on 7 December 2012, were: Nottingham at the Capital FM Arena - 10 March 2013; London at the O2 - 13 March 2013; Liverpool at the Liverpool Echo Arena - 15 March 2013; Cardiff at the Cardiff Motorpoint - 17 March 2013; Manchester at the Manchester Arena - 24 March 2012; Newcastle at the Metro - 26 March 2013; Birmingham at the Birmingham NIA - 28 March 2013.

Tickets for the tour, however, were available for online purchase a day earlier than expected on 6 December 2012. Also on that day, two more venues were added: Belfast at the Odyssey Arena - 19 March 2013 and Dublin at the Dublin 02 - 21 March 2013. Tickets for these newly added performances would go on sale 13 December 2012.

On 5 February 2013, it was announced that "due to global activity with tours in Australia, Europe and USA to be announced soon" the arena tour could not play in March, and so, just two months after having promoted them, all of the tour dates were cancelled. (Although no official announcement had bee issued by the Really Useful Group, the Australian papers reported that Andrew Lloyd Webber had promised there would be plans for the show to tour Australia after its inaugural performance at London's O2 on 21 September 2012 and that AEG Live had confirmed a 2013 tour.) The Jesus Christ Superstar tour was re-booked for October of 2013, this time with added stops in Glasgow and Leeds: Glasgow at The Hydrow - 1 October 2013; Birmingham at the Birmingham NIA - 3 October 2013; Leeds at the Leeds Arena - 4 October 2013; Newcastle at the Metro - 6 October 2013; Cardiff at the Cardiff Motorpoint - 8 October 2013; Nottingham at the Capital FM Arena - 10 October 2013; Manchester at the Manchester Arena - 11 October 2013; London at the O2 - 13 October 2013; Liverpool at the Liverpool Echo Arena - 15 October 2013. Tickets for the new October dates went on sale 15 February 2013.

Jesus Christ Superstar received a total of five nominations for the 2013 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards on 7 December 2012. These were for Theatre Event Of The Year, Best Musical Revival, Best Supporting Actor In A Musical (Tim Minchin), Best Supporting Actress In A Musical (Mel C) and Best Lighting Designer (Patrick Woodroffe). The awards ceremony was held at the Palace Theatre on 17 February 2013. Participating in the Awards Concert were Mel C and Tim Minchin who performed "I Don't Know How To Love Him" and "Heaven On Their Minds" respectively. Jesus Christ Superstar took home two awards with Mel C winning for Best Supporting Actress In A Musical and Tim Minchin winning for Best Supporting Actor In A Musical

On 13 February 2013, it was announced that the Really Useful Group and Frontier Touring were producing an Australian tour of the arena production. The Australian tour still starred Ben Forster as Jesus, Tim Minchin as Judas and Mel C as Mary Magdalene. The roles of Herod and Pilate, however, were to be played by Andrew O'Keefe and Jon Stevens respectively.

The Australian Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour played from the end of May to mid-June of 2013. The tour schedule was: Perth at the Perth Arena - 31 May 2013; Adelaide at the Entertainment Centre - 4 June 2013; Sydney at the Entertainment Centre - 7 & 8 June 2013; Brisbane at the Entertainment Centre - 11 June 2013; Melbourne at the Rod Laver Arena - 14 & 15 June. A return engagement at Brisbane's Entertainment Centre was added for 18 June 2013, marking the last performance of the tour.

Tickets for the arena tour in Australia went on sale Friday, 8 March 2013, but had been available for pre-sale to registered members of The Frontier Touring Company (a free service).

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