Tour of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ canceled _lowres

Photo provided by Really Useful Group Ltd. -- A scene from 'Jesus Christ Superstar' by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice ay O2 Arena, London, in 2012. A national U.S. tour that was to have kicked off in New Orleans Monday was abruptly canceled late Friday.

A national tour of the rock musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which was to kick off Monday in New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena featuring John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon, of the Sex Pistols, and Michelle Williams, of Destiny’s Child, has been canceled just days before opening.

The show’s website did not give a reason.

Options Clause Entertainment LLC said all purchased tickets will be refunded. Tickets bought online and via telephone will be automatically refunded, and those bought at the box office should be returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

In an interview last week with New Orleans Advocate theater writer Jim Fitzmorris, British actor and singer Ben Forster, cast as Jesus, gave no hint of trouble with the production, saying he relished his challenging role.

“It is the hardest musical I have ever done,” Forster said. “By the time it is done, I am wiped out. I cannot go out after performances. I need to focus on resting my body.”

The show’s North American tour was to follow successful tours in England and Australia, the website said.

Publicity for the revival of the 1971 album and movie by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber boasted more than 50 actors, singers and musicians onstage, concert lighting and the familiar lineup of songs chronicling the final days of Jesus Christ.

Brandon Boyd, lead vocalist of the rock band Incubus, was to have played the role of Judas Iscariot. *NSYNC vocalist JC Chasez was Pontius Pilate, Destiny’s Child singer Williams was Mary Magdalene and Lydon was to have played King Herod.

Forster won England’s “Superstar” TV competition in 2012 and played the title role in the U.K. and Australian tours. He credited a great deal of his ability to bear the burden of the title role to director Laurence Connor.

“It is a play where my character’s emotions are going from joyful to sad in a matter of seconds,” Forster said. “And you are doing it on a grand scale.”