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Lloyd Webber to sue over Jesus Christ Superstar US tour collapse

Ben Forster in Jesus Christ Superstar.
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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group is suing the promoter of the cancelled US tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in a bid to recover costs.

The musical was due to begin touring the US in June, but was cancelled just days before the run was scheduled to begin, without a reason being given at the time.

RUG is now taking legal action against Michael Cohl’s Options Clause Entertainment following the cancellation of the tour.

The company said that it had “no option” but to do so in an effort to “recover its costs associated with the project and in turn, satisfy outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors”.

RUG said Cohl, through Options Clause Entertainment, “had agreed to be the promoter of this tour” and added that “under the terms of agreement was responsible for all of the costs associated with the US dates”.

“Since Mr Cohl’s unilateral decision to cancel the tour, The Really Useful Group has been tirelessly working to find an out of court settlement of the costs incurred by cancellation at such a late stage,” it said.

Barney Wragg, chief executive of RUG, added: “The Really Useful Group is hugely disappointed to be let down in this way, particularly taking into account the impact, both personal and financial, that it has had on so many people who have put so much hard work into this project. We had a sell-out UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2012 and, in 2013, the same production toured Australia also playing to capacity audiences with unprecedented success.”

The show was set to star Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, Brandon Boyd, from rock band Incubus, and former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon. Ben Forster was to play Jesus in the Lloyd Webber musical, a role he originally played in the UK after appearing on the ITV series Superstar.

Cohl was previously the subject of a lawsuit in 2010, when Live Nation, of which he had been chair, accused him of breaking the terms of an agreement he made at the time he left the company.

Cohl then began a countersuit, but both sides eventually settled in 2012.

Cohl was also the lead producer of beleaguered Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which began previewing in 2010 and closed in January this year.

The Stage awaits comment.

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