Andrew Lloyd Webber is getting ready to kick off his latest star search, hunting for the perfect person to play Jesus in a new touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
The legendary composer spoke to stv.tv about the new show, Superstar, which begins later this summer, and revealed what kind of performer he’s looking for.
“It’s a slight twist this one because Jesus Christ Superstar started in America really, in the big rock arenas, therefore we’re looking for someone to play the role of Jesus who can hold a great big rock arena," Lord Webber explained.
"We’re not talking about a theatre show, it will play the O2 [Arena] and it will actually play in Glasgow at one point, we’ve got a 28-date tour.”
And it’s going to take one very special performer to land the lead role. Lord Webber continued: “He’s got to be incredibly charismatic, that is obviously clear, he has also got to have a fantastic singing voice.
"The original role was played by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple 42 years ago I’m ashamed to say - it dates me - but he was amazing and he was one of the great rock tenor voices of all l time, and an extraordinary falsetto cry, and we’re going to have to go a long way to find somebody who can match him, but that’s what I’d like, and somebody who can also bring their own personality to it.”
stv.tv popped along to the Glasgow auditions back in February, where we chatted to some of the hopefuls who were auditioning for Lord Webber and his team.
One was singer-songwriter Charlie Price, who explained why he decided to try out for Superstar.
He said: “I didn’t find out about it until about three or four weeks ago, one of my friends from college sent me the link saying they were looking for an new Jesus Christ Superstar. I love music and I love acting and it is one of my favourite musicals, so I thought ‘why not?’.”
Charlie, who performed Come Together by The Beatles and No Other Way by Paolo Nutini, said he’s not sure how he got on in front of the panel.
“I’m hopeful but I honestly have no idea, it’s the first time I’ve done anything like this so I have no idea how bad or how well I’ve done.”
Robbie Letelier, a bank worker, was also trying out at the Glasgow auditions back in February. He said: “I’m a massive fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber, all his shows and Jesus Christ Superstar was the first show I ever saw, my high school went to see it at the Edinburgh Playhouse for a school trip and it just blew me away.”
The hopeful performed Anything For Love by Meatloaf, and Daughtry’s hit What About Now for his audition pieces, and said he had his fingers crossed that the panel were impressed.
“I think it went okay, I hope it went brilliant but it’s hard to say, you never know,” he explained.
Law student Simon Gordon, who hadn’t yet been in to audition for the judging panel on the day when he spoke to stv.tv, was hoping to blow them away with a performance of two songs, out of a choice of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Fortune Favours the Brave from Aida and Gethsemane from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Explaining his reasons for trying out, he said: “I’ve always had a passion for musical theatre, it’s just what I want to do and I think it’s a great opportunity to perform in front of someone like David [Grindrod, a theatre and TV casting director who works closely with Webber], who is a really influential guy.”
He added: “You can take a positive away from it even if you don’t make it through, I’m sure there will be good things to take away from it.”
And Ross Wild - a musical performer who had been invited to audition for Superstar after singing for Lord Webber during an earlier visit that day to Greenock’s new arts centre The Beacon – was also hoping he might be one of the lucky ones to land a place in the next round.
“Superstar has been a dream from mine ever since I was a little kid, it’s the show that got me into musical theatre,” Ross explained.
The hopeful was planning to perform The Show Must Go On by Queen, and an extract out of Jesus Christ Superstar for his audition.
Will any of these hopefuls make it into the competition? You’ll need to tune in to Superstar later this summer to find out!
WHAT A STAR:
- Andrew Lloyd Webber talks to stv.tv about the kind of star he's looking for
- More on the judges on Superstar