We are looking for outstanding singers who have an authentic feel, understanding and passion for the sound of late 60s/early 70s rock music. In particular The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Carol King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Pink Floyd. Performers with strong individual identity, ability to communicate beyond the fourth wall and be free and creative during the rehearsal process.

As there is no dialogue, all auditions should demonstrate both your ability to sing in a rock operatic style as well as your acting ability.

At the end of the Audition Piece section for each role there is a link called VIEW. If you click this, it will take you to a PDF of the relevant audition piece. You can view it and, indeed, print it out or download it for yourself.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A CHRISTIAN OR SPIRITUAL IN ANY WAY TO TAKE A ROLE IN THIS SHOW.


JESUS CHRIST

Widely described as the most influential person in history, Jesus is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of the Son of God and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. His other name, Christ, means the Anointed One.

He is the protagonist of our story and leader of the twelve disciples (called apostles in this show).  Tim Rice was interested in Jesus as the man, rather than as the Messiah, and not only his spiritual ministry, but also his personal experience and political role in the world.

The Jesus of this piece is a little less delicate and more rough-hewn character than is often portrayed. A real man who gets angry yet accepts people for who they are. He has his frailties and knows he can’t “save the world” but hopes to teach and affect the people he meets.

We are looking for someone with a strong but quiet charisma as well as a very strong rock singer with a wide range.

We are looking for a true ‘rock star’ – a Superstar.

He has been famously played by Ian Gillan, Paul Nicholas, John Legend, Tony Hadley, Ben Forster

 

Rock Tenor, chest voice B2-Ab4, powerful falsetto/scream up to G5; this role demands a well-rounded voice that also has a super extended upper register (enabling you to do ‘the Ian Gillan scream’), virtuosity coupled with sensitive musicianship a must.  Think James Taylor meets Steve Tyler.

Best performance IMHO is Ian Gillan in the Concept album.

Audition Pieces:

‘Gethsemane’ complete,‘The Temple’ bars 55-67 and then 103-end – expect ad lib. work throughout both. (*)  VIEW

 

JUDAS ISCARIOT

One of the Twelve Apostles, Judas was initially Jesus’s right-hand man but has grown concerned about the cult of personality surrounding Jesus, believing it’s overgrown his teachings. His political and interpersonal disagreements with Jesus set the plot of the play in motion.

Despite his notorious role in the gospel narratives, Judas remains a controversial figure in Christian history.Tim Rice subscribes to the theory that Judas was not “evil” or “a Devil” as some Christians maintain but that Judas expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman rule of Judea in his role as the Messiah. Therefore, Judas is a disillusioned disciple betraying Jesus not so much because he loved money, but because he loved his country and thought Jesus had failed it.

Tim Rice says he was initially inspired to tell the Jesus story through the eyes of Judas by the Bob Dylan lyric, “I can’t think for you, you’ll have to decide, did Judas Iscariot have God on his side?” from the song, “With God on Our Side.”

So, Judas is portrayed initially as an angry, disappointed man whose frustration makes him become a bitter, isolated, wildly emotional and tortured soul.

We are looking for another strong man with an extraordinary vocal and acting ability.

He has been famously played by Murray Head, Roger Daltrey, and Tim Minchin.

 

Rock/Soul Tenor; (D3-D5 (+); this role requires an agile and sensitive voice with access to extremely high registers across a full dynamic range with exquisite diction and intonation; stylistically drawing a great deal from soul music. Think Stevie Wonder or Murray Head. Andrew Lloyd Webber described this voice as “a real bluesy soul voice which can turn to silk in a heartbeat.”

Best performance IMHO is Murray Head in the Concept album.

Audition Pieces:

‘Heaven on Their Minds’ and ‘Judas’ Death’ complete – expect ad lib. work on both from bar 103-end. (*)  VIEW

 

MARY MAGDALENE

Another very controversial character in the Jesus story and the only major female character in the play – formerly a prostitute, Mary is now a devoted follower of Jesus who finds herself falling in unrequited love with him. She fulfils the classic female role of nurturer, caretaker and soother and she is very grateful for his attention.

Her relationship with Judas and the rest of the Apostles is also key in our version of the show. Indeed, the inclusion of Mary in the show makes it a love story as well as one of the most famous and powerful stories humankind has ever known

She has three famous songs: “Everything’s Alright”, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Could We Start Again Please?” 

She should be an attractive woman with a sweet singing voice.

I think she should be rather funky too.

She has been famously played by Yvonne Elliman, Dana Gillespie and Melanie C.

 

Belt Mezzo-Soprano (F3–E♭5); drawing its influence from early 70s pop, this role requires musical simplicity and excellent phrasing; think Joni Mitchell or Carol King.

PLEASE NOTE: although Mary sings with a pop/musical theatre voice, it is essential that this role is sung precisely as the composer wrote it and not as a collection of ‘pop’ songs by a pop diva.

Best performance IMHO is Yvonne Elliman in the Concept album.

Audition Pieces

‘Everything’s Alright’ only until bar 32 and ‘Could We Start Again Please?’ complete  VIEW

 

PONTIUS PILATE

Governor of of the Roman province of Judaea who foresees the events of Jesus’s crucifixion from beginning to aftermath in a dream and finds himself being presented with that very situation.

In all four gospel accounts, Pilate lobbies for Jesus to be spared his eventual fate and acquiesces only when the crowd refuses to relent. Indeed, he washes his hands of the decision.

One of the most complex characters in the play, a man of his time and a leader capable of great brutality, yet also a man of a certain conscience. He is not the evil, weak man as he is sometimes portrayed but is a politician who, ultimately, has to do what is best for his province.

A strong singer with a beautiful voice; and a great presence. Pilate needs a manic quality in the 39 Lashes. A very strong and experienced and charismatic actor required

Famously played by Barry Dennen

 

Baritone or Baritenor; (A2-Bb4); a strong baritone with extended high register; think Paul McCartney, Robert Plant; a diverse musical journey through both acts requires a singer of great stillness, yet with the ability to tear the roof off in the final bars.

Best performance IMHO is Barry Dennen in the Concept album for “Pilate’s Dream”and David Burt in the 1996 London cast recording for all the Pilate and Jesus interactions.

Audition Pieces:

‘Pilate’s Dream’ complete and ‘Pilate and Christ’ beginning until bar 47 – expect ad lib. work from bar 23-47. (*)  VIEW

 

KING HEROD

Jesus is brought before the King of Galilee for judgement after first being taken to Pilate.

This is Herod Antipas who ruled at the time of Jesus’s adulthood, not to be confused with his father, Herod The Great, who was the one who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of Jesus’s birth.

Herod has the ability to be smooth and charming one moment then waspish and vituperative the next.

He is traditionally played as a comic character and his song is pure Gilbert & Sullivan, so he must sing and dance well but mostly someone who can entertain and can sell the Herod Song to the audience.

You should have a great sense of humour.

Famously played by Mike d’Abo, Alice Cooper, Rik Mayall, Julian Clary, Chris Moyles

 

Baritone (C♯3–G4)

Best performance IMHO is Mike d’Abo in the Concept album.

Audition Piece:

‘Herod’s Song’ (in some versions of the vocal score, this is attached to the end of Pilate and Christ in which case it starts from Bar 58) – expect ad lib. work from 142 (*)  VIEW

 

CAIAPHAS

One of the main antagonists of the show, Caiaphas is the High priest of the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem who, according to Biblical accounts, organizes the plot to kill Jesus.

He and his assistant, Annas, see Jesus as a threat to their nation and, therefore, themselves and so they negotiate with Judas for information regarding Jesus whereabouts to aid in His arrest.

These men are worried that Jesus presence will hurt their power. They are devious, covert and ruthless.

Can you be both a father figure and a scheming, lying rouge?

 

Low Bass (C#2-F4); a strong bass with a baritone range; must have great feel for groove, an astonishing musical presence and first class diction.

Best performance IMHO is Victor Brox in the Concept album.

Audition Pieces:

‘This Jesus Must Die’ bar 77 – end. ‘Blood Money’ bar 105 – 137 – expect ad lib. work throughout. (*)  VIEW

 

ANNAS

The other main antagonist of the show. Fellow priest at the side of Caiaphas who is persuaded by him into seeing Jesus as a threat.

 

Countertenor or High Tenor (E3–D5); funky high rock/soul tenor, with a great flair for swing and groove; shrill, tightly wound.

(A countertenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of the female contralto or mezzo-soprano voice types. Hence, I would not be against casting this role as a woman, if necessary.)

Best performance IMHO is Brian Keith in the Concept album.

Audition Pieces:

‘This Jesus Must Die’ just the beginning until bar 22. ‘Blood Money’ bar 105 – 137 – expect ad lib. work throughout. (*)  VIEW

 

SIMON ZEALOTES

Historically, one of the most obscure of Jesus’s twelve apostles, he is a violent rabble-rouser and urges Jesus to lead his followers into battle against the Romans. Yet, he is an enthusiastic supporter of Jesus but reckless, extreme and headstrong.

 

Tenor (G3–B4)

Audition Piece:

‘Simon Zealotes’ bar 52-end (finish at bar 88 in the vocal score version where it’s immediately followed by Poor Jerusalem) – expect ad lib. work from 85-88 (*)  VIEW

 

PETER

Jesus’s chief apostle and current right-hand man. His actual name was Simon but Jesus named him Peter as it means ‘Rock’ as in “the Rock on which I will build my church”. He is loyal and loving and in awe of Jesus, yet he famously denies him three times on the night of Jesus’s arrest to save himself.

 

Baritone (A2–G4)

Audition Pieces

‘Peter’s Denial’ and ‘Could We Start Again Please’? both complete.  VIEW

 

There also some featured singing roles that are not SOLO singing roles:

APOSTLES*
APOSTLES’ WIVES

 

There also some show length featured roles that are non-singing roles:

A ROMAN CENTURION
4 ROMAN SOLDIERS

 

There are a number of solo singing roles that will be selected from the ENSEMBLE:

PRIEST ONE
PRIEST TWO
PRIEST THREE
MAID BY THE FIRE
2 MEN BY THE FIRE
4 REPORTERS (2 female & 2 male)
“SOUL GIRLS”

 

THE ENSEMBLE

The ENSEMBLE consists of HEROD’S COURT, LEPERS, RICH MERCHANTS, MONEY CHANGERS, PIMPS, ‘TEMPLE LADIES’, 2 SLAVE GIRLS OF PONTIUS PILATE, MARY – MOTHER OF JESUS, ANGELS and the general POPULACE.

A small DANCE TROOP is also required.

 

* They are fully listed in St Luke’s Gospel:

“Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

 

* ‘Expect ad lib. work’

Jesus Christ Superstar is not actually a musical but a Rock Opera, essentially meaning there is an incredibly limited amount of dialogue. The narrative exists almost entirely within the song. So unlike a standard audition where you’d be expected to have different acting and vocal sections, JCS will be more of a ‘2 in 1’ situation. The score has lots of moments where it’s marked flexibly and notes/rhythms are not set, or are but can be changed. You’ll be expected to listen widely in preparation for your audition as no two versions will be exactly the same. There is no ‘right way,’ it’s up to you to interpret these bits personally just like you would if you were given dialogue. Then in your audition, the creative team will work with you to see how you respond to receiving different types of direction through these sections. Again, exactly as you would often receive during the ‘acting part’ of an audition.

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