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Lord seeks Jesus on ITV

Posted at 3:00 pm, January 18, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment

Andrew Lloyd Weber launches 'superstar'Theatre Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and ITV have confirmed their new reality TV series, ‘Superstar’. It will employ a similar format to the four musical casting series’ Lloyd Webber did with the taxpayer-funded BBC – and which have helped to keep the vast London Palladium in business, thanks to strong box office advances for Connie Fisher’s Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ and Danielle Hope and Michael Crawford in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. ‘Superstar’ will aim to find a new star to play the eponymous hero in Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s cult 1970 rock opera musical, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. Lloyd Webber recently claimed the 2012 Olympics will cause ‘a bloodbath’  in theatreland this summer, with audiences deserting the West End – although his longtime collaborator Rice has publicly disagreed with his pessimistic analysis. So it’s interesting that ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, unlike Lloyd Webber’s four previous TV-cast shows, will not come to any of the ‘Phantom’ composer’s Really Useful Group venues. Instead it will tour UK arenas starting at the O2 later this year. You can see the logic in staging a rock musical in a rock venue. But it makes bottom line sense too. With a capacity of around 20,000, the O2 can absorb around nine times more people than even the Palladium. That makes it at good fit for the sugar rush spike in bookings which is created – but not usually sustained very long after the series ends – by the Saturday night TV effect.  Anyone who fancies their chances as the next Jesus Christ superstar should look out for nationwide auditions in Belfast, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, London and Manchester. Caroline McGinn

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