Rhydian talks Superstar to PR in Liverpool

Posted on 25 March 2015
By Chris High
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“To be a part of this new production is sensational and, I think that out of all the roles, playing this one is just right for me.” So says Rhydian Roberts, 2007s X Factor finalist and one of the handful of contestants from that show to have carved out a significantly successful career away from the ITV talent contest.

Rhydian is currently playing Pontius Pilate in the touring Bill Kenwright production of the Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber monolith Jesus Christ Superstar, currently running at The Liverpool Empire and in April at Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

“I love the character of Pilate and it’s quite a complex role because, although he’s always seen as the bad guy, he’s one of the few who didn’t want to execute Jesus but had a job to do in condemning him to death.”

“I get to sing one of the key songs in the show, but it is this that demonstrates his reluctance and Jesus’ determination to carry out God’s will. All of that is really exciting, but it’s brilliant, as well, to be playing alongside Glenn Carter who’s played Jesus both on film in 2007 and, also, on Broadway, so he knows the show inside out and is just such an amazing performer.”

For those who don’t know, Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of the days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, played here by Tim Rogers. A story which, upon its release, caused a storm of protest but which has nevertheless been staged in at least 15 countries worldwide, with a film that grossed over $13m at the box office in 1973, is licensed for performance to over 300 amateur production companies yearly in the UK alone and which has recently been seen in Arenas around the world with Ben Forster, Melanie Chisholm and Tim Minchin taking on the main roles of Jesus, Mary and Judas to much critical acclaim.

“It is just a fantastic story, whether you are a believer or not, and it is also a powerful love story as well, which people tend to overlook a little bit I think. Unfortunately, although I toured with him in Rocky Horror a few years ago, I didn’t get to see Ben in the Arenas, which is a shame. This one is going to be more traditionally set, I think, in the way that it is in its biblical times and in the way we dress and what have you. Being in smaller venues than arenas also gives it more intimacy; being in a traditional theatre like the Liverpool Empire or the Palace in Manchester provides something that the audience can associate with more and so almost become involved with as the show progresses. And, of course, Superstar has some of the greatest, most iconic songs ever written for musical theatre.”

Playing Mary on this tour is another X Factor finalist, Rachel Adedji, who recently appeared in the West End as a part of the Michael Jackson inspired and highly successful Thriller: Live show. “Backstage we don’t talk about the X Factor at all, but almost inevitably the press and media bring it up whenever we do interviews together,” Rhydian said. “That’s fine by us, to be honest, because it was a great thing to a part of. I still watch the show now and then, but I think I was a part of it when it was pretty much in its heyday, but it definitely opened doors for me and I’ve now gone on to do things that might not have been possible without it. I have a new album out, One Day Like This, and was Number One in the Official Classical Charts for a long time, which was really satisfying for me as an artist.”

And Rhydian should never be considered to be a product of Reality TV either. “Following Opera school, I went to the Royal Academy to study Musical Theatre, so it has always been the plan to take part in shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, and others, as well as performing solo before an audience. So it’s fantastic to be able to say that I have a successful recording career, a successful solo career and am able to act in roles such as Pilate in tremendously successful shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar. “

Jesus Christ Superstar is at The Liverpool Empire from March 23 – March 28 and The Palace Theatre in Manchester April 13 – April 18