‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ production is abruptly called off

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ cast members
John Lydon, left, throws bananas during a news conference regarding a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” that was also to have featured, from left, JC Chasez, Michelle Williams and Brandon Boyd. The production was canceled Friday.
(Evan Agostini / Invision)

A planned production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” that was set to tour North America this summer has been canceled before the show even hit the road.

Featuring a cast filled with pop stars -- including Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and John Lydon (formerly known as the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten) -- the rock opera was scheduled to have its first performance in New Orleans on June 9. From there it was to visit arenas such as Staples Center in L.A. and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

But Friday the cast and crew were told that that the show would not go on.

In an email to the New York Times, the production’s promoter, Michael Cohl -- known for his work with rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones, as well as for being a producer on Bono and the Edge’s ill-fated musical, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” -- blamed poor ticket sales for the cancellation.


“It became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around,” Cohl told the newspaper. “In the end, it just did not make business sense to continue, and we didn’t want the cast to endure playing to disappointing audiences.”

“Jesus Christ Superstar” was also to have starred JC Chasez of ‘N Sync and Ben Forster, a British actor who won the role of Jesus through a reality television competition.