Hunt is on to find perfect Jesus for Godspell production
HE'S the ultimate icon and the biggest challenge for any actor.
But it is Jesus who is currently missing from a modern-day production of the musical Godspell.
The search is on for someone "charismatic who makes you sit up and listen" to fill the starring role.
Jacob's Well Productions is looking for an actor to carry the show which opened off Broadway in 1971 and then took the world by storm.
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Its contemporary version – promising to be "fun, creative and thought-provoking" – runs at The Playhouse, Cheltenham, from December 5 to 8.
Drama group director Tim Benton admitted the role immortalised by actor Victor Garber in the film version, required someone special.
"He will have some big dusty sandals to fill," he said.
"Although the show is an allegory, the main character is based on the life of Christ.
"I'm looking for someone with a strong singing voice, who can move a bit, but is very much a charismatic performer – so you can see there's 'something about them'.
"He's got to be able to make you sit up and listen to the message.
"Jesus had a dynamic message and a different one from the religious leaders of the day.
"It had all been about following the rules and keeping God happy, but Jesus came and said the nature of God is love and forgiveness."
Ideally, Jesus would be in his early 20s to mid-30s and will work with a 15-strong cast in the show, known for numbers such as Day By Day.
"You can get women every day of the week but to find good quality men who can sing, dance and act is a different thing," said Mr Benton, of Winchcombe.
"Jesus could be wearing jeans as it's a contemporary take on Godspell and people will be wearing modern clothes.
"We're setting the whole thing in a playground. It's about adults who never grew up and lost leadership.
"It's a bit feral and Lord of the Flies but Jesus comes in and some characters follow his message and others don't," he said.
The company has worked at The Playhouse for 13 years and faith is the motivation for its work. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, Godspell was written by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak.
Shown by various touring companies since 1971, it was revived on Broadway in 2011 and ran until June.