'Jesus Christ Superstar' Promoter Cites Low Ticket Sales for Arena Tour Cancellation: Update

"It became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around"

Following news last night that the star-studded, multimillion-dollar production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Jesus Christ Superstar" arena tour had been abruptly cancelled, the tour's promoter Michael Cohl has explained that, as suspected, the axe fell because ticket sales weren't cutting it. 

'Jesus Christ Superstar' Arena Tour is Cancelled

"It became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around," Cohl, the former Live Nation chairman and veteran Rolling Stones promoter told the New York Times today (May 31). The 1970 rock opera—the production of which Cohl cited earlier this year as costing somewhere in the "eight-figure" range—needed to make "several hundred thousand dollars" at each of its 18,000- to 20,000-seat arena stops, but sales just didn't meet expectations: many of the dates only sold at half-capacity.

"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," said Cohl. 

Does 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Signal a Rocking Future for Arena Theater?

This latest production of "Superstar" was to feature a celebrity cast including Incubus's Brandon Boyd (Judas Iscariot), Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams (Mary Magdalene), the Sex Pistols' John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon (King Herod), and 'N Sync's JC Chasez (Pontius Pilate); the cast had no knowledge of the cancellation and had been rehearsing all the way up until Friday morning when they were informed of the news. The notice posted last night on the show's website states that all tickets will be refunded.

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