The reason Ted Neeley is still playing the role of Jesus in this version of Jesus Christ Superstar is the result of a long cherished desire by the Italian director Massimo Romeo Piparo. Piparo wanted to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar on the Italian stages in a unique way and this was nothing short of a success.
He wanted to stage a one time version of Jesus Christ Superstar with some actors from the original film: a reunion version of this great rock opera. Earlier Piparo had produced the rock opera with the now deceased Carl Anderson, the original Judas in the film. When he made his enquiries he found that Ted Neeley (Jesus), Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene) and Barry Dennen (Pontius Pilate) were very enthusiastic about this idea and wanted to cooperate, which made "Jesus Christ Superstar - The Reunion" a reality.
In September 2014 a grand musical show with more than 50 cast members, including Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen and an orchestra of 13 musicians, was staged at the Teatro Sistina in Rome. This show was such a huge success in Italy that several performances followed.
Especially Ted Neeley’s portrayal of Jesus, including the poignant song ‘Gethsemane’, left a deep and lasting impression. The show played to sold-out theatres, with the absolute highlight a performance at the world famous amphitheatre Arena di Verona, with over 12,000 spectators! A tour was therefore inevitable. After Yvonne Elliman and Barry Dennen left the production, Ted Neeley continued playing the role of Jesus in Italy for two years, followed by a series of sold out performances in The Hague in December 2015.