The Des McAnuff-helmed production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, currently running at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, will be coming stateside with a transfer to the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego this fall. The musical, about the last days of Jesus’ life, replaces the previously scheduled Finding Neverland. The show will run from November 18 through December 31, 2011 and rumors of a Broadway transfer are already swirling.
Superstar will move to La Jolla with its full Stratford cast, which features Paul Nolan as Jesus, Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene and Josh Young as Judas, with Tony winner Brent Carver in the role of Pontius Pilate.
A move from California to Broadway would hardly be a first for McAnuff, who served as artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994, and again from 2001 until 2007. The west coast theater served as a starting point for many Broadway hits, including Tony winners Jersey Boys, which McAnuff also directed, and Memphis. Whether or not Superstar will follow in those footsteps remains to be seen. “I’m not thinking that way,” McAnuff told the Toronto Star, “I’m more excited about the fact that we’re bringing a Stratford show to La Jolla. If it happens to go on to Broadway, all well and good, but there’s a lot that has to take place before that can happen.”
The Stratford Superstar began generating Broadway buzz soon after its opening in June of 2011, fueled in part by visits from both Webber and Rice. Webber, who recently expressed his own hopes that the production would move to Broadway, called it "the best acted version of the show I have seen in the 40 years of its existence."