Andrew Lloyd Webber is to launch a new musical reality show on on ITV to find someone to play Jesus in a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
The multimillionaire composer and life peer has already put on four similar shows on the BBC to find Maria for the Sound of Music and cast members for Oliver.
As well as looking for Jesus, Lloyd Webber is also expected to seek someone to play the part of Judas in the 1971 rock opera, for which he wrote the music to Tim Rice’s lyrics.
The BBC’s fear of offending Christians by telling members of the public ‘You could be Jesus’ is said to explain Lloyd Webber’s move to ITV.
According to Yahoo.co.uk an insider told The Sun that ‘he has been wanting to get this off the ground for some time but the BBC just didn’t want it. They had issues about auditioning for Jesus. They feared Christians would get hot under the collar’.
The Life Peer will be head judge on a panel including Steve Balsamo, who played Jesus in an earlier production.
The winner will perform in a planned arena tour of the production rather like the loss-making tour of Jerry Springer the Opera, which saw every performance lobbied and audiences leafleted in a campaign led by Christian Voice. Every theatre lost money on the tour.
Jesus Christ Superstar was labelled blasphemous when it came out for the extra-biblical tensions between Jesus and Judas, the disrespect shown to the Saviour, the very depiction of ’images’ of the Lord on stage and the abrupt Crucifixion ending with no Resurrection. It was defended as a ‘Passion Play’ but these were always staged as a precursor to the glories and celbrations of Easter Day. Lyricist Tim Rice decided the Gospels were inadequate portrayals of the passion week, that Jesus had no idea of his deity and that he was just a man with no supernatural powers and certainly not the Son of God.
Like Jerry Springer the Opera, this is a perfect opportunity to reach the unsaved queuing to audition with the Gospel and witness against the reality show and the intended production at the same time.
Stewart Lee, the author of Jerry Springer the Opera, famously said that Christian Voice killed his musical. We give God the glory, but the disaster of the tour, with audiences staying away in droves, shows what miracles God can do when Christian people do the simple things he calls them to.
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