Updated at 10 a.m. June 1, 2014
San Diego won’t see the “Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Spectacular” after all — and nobody else either. The national touring show set for July 24 at Valley View Casino Center has been canceled.Options Clause Entertainment LLC, an affiliate of S2BN Entertainment, announced the cancellation Friday morning.
“According to social media reports, assembled cast and crew were informed of the cancellation this afternoon following a run-through of the show,” Broadway World said. “Primary cast members were expected to begin rehearsals for the show next week prior to embarking on a planned 50-city tour throughout the United States over the next several months.”
The website said JC Chasez, who had been cast as Pilate, share his disappointment on Twitter, writing, “When it rains it pours.” And cast member Paul Ayres wrote: “Absolutely gutted!!
“All purchased tickets will be refunded,” said a brief news release on the San Diego pullout. “Tickets purchased online and via telephone will be automatically refunded. Tickets purchased from outlets/venue box office must be returned to that location for refund.”
Many stars of famed bands had been set for the last California stop of the tour — at the former San Diego Sports Arena.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, the San Diego stop was still listed on the North American tour page of the production. But by 1:20 p.m., the schedule was taken down.
S2BN Entertainment in New York did not respond to a request for comment, but U-T San Diego music writer George Varga speculated on why the tour was canceled before it had begun:
Two possible answers may be the ticket prices (which ranged from $29.50 to $125 each, plus service charges) and the cast, which was to have included Incubus singer Brandon Boyd as Judas Iscariot, Destiny’s Child alum Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, *NSYNC’s JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate and former Sex Pistols front man John Rotten Lydon (as he is now known) as King Herod.
None of these performers would appear to have the box office clout to ensure robust ticket sales. Nor would the singer cast as Jesus Christ, Ben Forster. Although he won England’s 2012 ITV Superstar competition and played Christ in the UK and Australian arena tours of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Forster’s name recognition in the U.S. is minimal.
On Saturday, The New York Times heard from tour promoter Michael Cohl, “who has mainly worked with rock groups like U2 and the Rolling Stones and was a lead producer of the problem-plagued Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”
“He said … that ticket sales to support the tour simply were not there, despite the backers’ having spent ‘millions of dollars’ and enlisting ‘an army of people to promote the tour,’” the Times said.
“It became obvious the shows were in trouble but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around,” Cohl was quoted as saying. “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.”