Chris Moyles talks about playing King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar

Fans arriving to see Chris Moyles take a bow as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar could be forgiven for failing to recognise the erstwhile Radio 1 DJ.

Former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles will play the role of Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar
Former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles will play the role of Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar

The former Breakfast Show presenter has had a shave, lost weight and become virtually unrecognisable.

He’s ditched his trademark jeans and T-shirt for a bright red velvet suit.

He will star at Birmingham’s NIA on Thursday and next Friday alongside Tim Minchin, who will play Judas, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, who will play Mary Magdalene, Ben Forster, who will play Jesus, and Alex Hanson, who will star as Pilate.

Moyles has moved on from being the self-proclaimed ‘saviour’ of Radio 1 to try his luck in musical theatre.

Theatrical guru Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber is among the people excited by Moyles’ decision to take the stage.

He said: “Chris is a fantastic character person. He has the twinkle in his eye. He doesn’t want to play it in the way it’s been played before — he doesn’t want to play it camp.”

Moyles is also looking forward to the show: “To receive a phonecall from Andrew is very cool, but then when he asks you to be in his musical that’s pretty amazing and there is only one thing to respond with... And that is yes! My mum’s gonna be well excited!”

Melanie Chisholm is also looking forward to appearing in the musical and said: “I have been lucky enough to perform at arenas across the globe and to star in London's West End but taking on the role of Mary Magdalene in the incredible Jesus Christ Superstar has to be one my most exciting challenges to date.

“I can't wait to take the show to some of my favourite venues in the UK with such a talented and formidable cast including Tim and Chris.”

Meanwhile, Ben Forster will take on the title role of Jesus Christ in the musical, after beating his competitors on ITV1 show Superstar.

The Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour will visit a number of towns and cities, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Nottingham before finishing in Sheffield.

The show began life as a groundbreaking rock double-album, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber who, at the ages of 25 and 21 respectively, were just embarking on what would become extraordinarily long and successful entertainment careers.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “No-one was interested in doing Jesus Christ Superstar on stage when we started, so Tim Rice and I did it as a record.”

Tim Rice was inspired by the Bob Dylan anthem ‘With God On Our Side’ which features Judas in its penultimate verse and is from his seminal 1964 album ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’.

Rice said: “From a very young age I had wondered what I might have done in the situations in which Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot found themselves.”

Tickets for Thursday night’s show are sold out but Friday tickets are are available from www.jesuschristsuperstar.com

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