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'Jesus Christ Superstar' to tour North America

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 9:39 am

NEW YORK — The 1970s rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" is being resurrected for a North American tour.

It was revealed Friday that the musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice about the last days of Jesus will start a 50-city tour in New Orleans on June 9.

It will star punk legend John Lydon as King Herod, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child as Mary, Brandon Boyd of Incubus as Judas and JC Chasez of 'N Sync as Pilate. Ben Forster, the winner of the U.K.'s prime-time contest show "Superstar," will play the son of God.

The guitar- and keyboard-driven musical, which debuted on Broadway in 1971, includes such songs as "What's the Buzz?" ''Superstar," ''Everything's Alright" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him." The new version is being billed as an arena rock spectacular.

The original production earned five Tony Award nominations, including one for Ben Vereen, who played Judas. A film version was released in 1973 and the last Broadway revival was staged in 2012 under the direction of Des McAnuff. Foster played Jesus in the 2012 broadcast of "Jesus Christ Superstar UK Rock Spectacular," a touring version of the musical that was taped in Birmingham, England.

The musical dramatizes Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, the unrest caused by his preaching and popularity, his betrayal by Judas, the trial before Pontius Pilate and his ultimate crucifixion. It marked an early collaboration between Lloyd Webber and Rice, who would go on to create "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Evita."