Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar first hit Broadway in 1971, and now its Stratford incarnation is slated to return to New York’s famous theatre district in 2012, with Des McAnuff, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, taking his interpretation to the stage once again. The musical follows the life of Jesus Christ upon his entry to Jerusalem, focusing on the drama surrounding his popularity and teachings, his betrayal by Judas, his trial before Pontius Pilate and, ultimately, his crucifixion. While the official cast list hasn’t been announced, McAnuff expects to keep most of the original cast intact, including Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Paul Nolan as Jesus, Josh Young as Judas Iscariot, Bruce Dow as King Herod and Brent Carver as Pontius Pilate.
With musical numbers that include “What’s the Buzz,” “Superstar” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” Jesus Christ Superstar is a favourite among Broadway fanatics, and McAnuff recognizes the importance of paying tribute to the history of the production, which was first introduced as an album before being staged on Broadway. McAnuff makes it clear he’s faithful to the original recordings: “We’ve treated it more like an opera than a musical,” he told the Associated Press. McAnuff is no stranger to Broadway himself—he previously directed Tommy in 1993, as well as Jersey Boys in 2005 and Guys and Dolls in 2009—and Jesus Christ Superstar garnered rave reviews when it opened at Stratford in July. The production ends its run in Stratford on November 6, moving first to La Jolla Playhouse in California for tweaking before opening on March 22, 2012 in New York.