It’s the ground-breaking musical that has challenged beliefs and spawned the ITV talent show Superstar last year. And in just a few days Jesus Christ Superstar will be returning to the UK for its nonstop arena tour.
Starring comedian Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot, former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm as Mary Magdalene, presenter Chris Moyles as King Herod and Ben Forster in the title role, the rock musical tells the story of Jesus’ last week alive.
But no show would be complete without its own little Essex star, this time in the form of Leigh-on-Sea’s Neil Moors.
Having lived in Essex for almost three years, 30-year-old Neil plays a number of roles in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical.
Revived for its 2013 UK arena tour, the show opens to a scene from the London riots, where Jesus asks the troubled men to follow him.
“This is an updated modern day version of the story,” says Neil. “Whether you believe in Jesus or not, it’s still drawing in on moments that everyone can relate to.
“I play a priest who wants Jesus dead, because he’s causing too much of a stir,” he explains. “I’m also in the ensemble so I play a policeman and I cover for Caiaphas. I do have a few lines and when you have to say them in front of thousands of people in the audience, it does get a bit nerve wracking!”
Indeed, getting ready to perform at the London O2 Arena, the cast are set to sing in front of an audience of 20,000. However Neil is looking forward to bringing the musical that first hit stages in the 70s back to life in London and claims that you don’t have to be religious to enjoy the show.
“Tim Minchin is an atheist and I know he got a lot of stick about being in a show about Jesus, but he just turned around and said ‘I’m an actor in a piece. There’s nothing more to it’,” he says. “So, whether you believe in the actual story or not, it’s still a great story that will still be told in 1,000s of years to come.”