- (Photo: The Christian Post/Sami Martin)
Members of music groups 'N Sync, Sex Pistols, Destiny's Child and Incubus are set to star in the upcoming "Jesus Christ Superstar" North American tour, the controversial musical loosely based on the events leading up to and including the crucifixion.
"I'm here to sing with the King of the Jews, who could ask for anything more?" said John Lydon of Sex Pistols, announcing that he will play the part of King Herod, The Guardian reported.
The musical from Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, which has been "reimagined for the 21st century as an arena rock spectacular," also stars 'N Sync's J.C. Chasez as Pontius Pilate, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child as Mary Magdalene, Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot and British actor Ben Forster as Jesus.
"I am so thrilled to be a part of this amazing production!" said Boyd. "I grew up on Andrew Lloyd Webber's classics and never imagined I would be playing a role in one, let alone with such an incredibly diverse cast of players."
The story focuses largely on the 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 rock opera, which started on Broadway in 1971, 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 musical has also been banned in some countries, including Belarus, which canceled several performances in 2012 after "outraged" Belarusian Orthodox Church members complained of the perceived blasphemous nature of the story.
Rice has defended the play, however, telling Time magazine: "It happens that we don't see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place."
"These biblical stories are always relevant," Rice said at a press conference announcing the new tour. "I hope that people will always find them relevant, whether they agree or disagree with the portrayal. For a musical to last over 40 years, I think that is rather significant."
The tour is set to launch in June in New Orleans and is set to hit major cities including Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, before a final show in Philadelphia on Aug. 17.