(Photo: The Christian Post/Sami Martin)
The "Jesus Christ Superstar" musical North American tour featuring an all-star cast has been abruptly canceled, reportedly because of low ticket sales.
"My heart is broken. My beautiful talented cast and company I adore. This wonderful show & opportunity is over. I'm so sorry I am devastated," said British actor Ben Foster, who was set to play Jesus Christ in the controversial Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera, on Twitter.
The New York Times reported that on Friday, the cast and crew of close to 300 found out that the tour, which was set to reach 50 North American cities over the summer, was canceled due to poor ticket sales.
"It became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around," the tour's promoter, Michael Cohl, announced in an email. "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."
The all-star cast also included N Sync's J.C. Chasez as Pontius Pilate, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child as Mary Magdalene, and Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot.
The rock opera, which started on Broadway in 1971, presents a fictional relationship between Jesus and Judas Iscariot, who is portrayed as being upset with the way Christ leads the disciples. Mary Magdalene is also portrayed as falling in love with Jesus.
The show has attracted controversy for its portrayal of the biblical narrative from some church groups, such as Faith Free Presbyterian Church, which called the show a "conscious blasphemy against Christ."
"Rice produced a text that flagrantly denies the most important things the Gospels teach about Christ. He presents a false Christ," the church argued.
The first "Jesus Christ Superstar" show had been scheduled for June 9 at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, and previously planned locations included notable arenas such as the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden in New York.