Actor for title role to be chosen by TV aud

LONDON — Tim Minchin, musical comedian and composer-lyricist of West End hit “Matilda — The Musical” will play Judas Iscariot, former Spice Girl Melanie C will play Mary Magdalene, and BBC Radio DJ Chris Moyles will play Herod in the first-ever U.K. arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a co-production between AEG Live and the Really Useful Group.

The actor to play the title role will be chosen by the public on a talent search show on ITV. Lloyd Webber’s previous TV casting shows for “The Sound of Music,” “Oliver!” and “The Wizard of Oz” have all been broadcast by the BBC. The decision to cast Jesus on TV has been strongly criticized by the show’s lyricist, Tim Rice.

Opening at London’s O2 Arena on Sept. 21, the rock opera tour will visit Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Nottingham, finishing exactly one month later in Sheffield. Production is unrelated to Des McAnuff’s current Gotham revival.

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