Friday, January 6

Andrew Lloyd Webber to launch search for Jesus Christ Superstar on ITV

Today's tabloid press are confirming the story that Andrew Lloyd Webber is launching another of his musical reality shows in the autumn.  This time it is to find a leading man for a relaunch of his 1972 West End musical Jesus Christ Superstar, but with ITV and not the BBC.

Lloyd Webber will be head judge as before, and Welsh singer Steve Balsamo who played Jesus in a 1996 London revival  is said to be on board.

This new large scale production is not heading for a West End run but will go on a countrywide arena tour  including London's O2 Arena.

The Lord has already fronted four musical reality shows with the BBC:  How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, I'd Do Anything, Any Dream Will Do and Over The Rainbow. He has moved to ITV because apparently the Beeb were dragging their heels as they "Had issues about auditioning for Jesus. They feared Christians would get hot under the collar". They also kept being criticised for effectively promoting Andrew's commercial interests.

The project still has some hurdles to get over as Tim Rice, who wrote the original lyrics to Jesus Christ, is said not to be keen. The source added: "He is not a massive fan of TV musical shows, he's old school. It could be a sticking point."

Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice already have Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway in March..

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