18/01/2012 02:57 GMT | Updated 18/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Andrew Lloyd Webber Looks For New Jesus Christ Superstar In TV Talent Contest

Andrew Lloyd Webber is offering an unknown Brit the lead in his highly-anticipated global Jesus Christ Superstar tour after announcing he's launching a TV talent contest to find the next musical sensation.

The theatre impresario and lyricist Tim Rice announced they were planning a revival of their hit 1970s stageshow two years ago, and Lloyd Webber admits every major star he approached about possibly leading the cast had tentatively signed on - but he decided to take the show in a different direction.

And now he's giving a young hopeful the chance to shine on the world stage via a TV competition.

Lloyd Webber says: "Presenting a new, 2012 version of Jesus Christ Superstar for arenas is truly exciting. Some of the best performances of this show have been in rock venues and I'm thrilled to see the show return to its roots. ITV is providing the perfect platform for us to find a new, British Superstar."

Lloyd Webber has already found unknown leads for The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Wizard of Oz through TV talent shows on the BBC, making household names of Connie Fisher, Lee Mead and Jodie Prenger.

His new deal with ITV comes after his three-year contract with the Beeb came to an end in 2011 amid rumours of tensions between Lloyd Webber and execs.

ITV's Elaine Bedell adds: "We are asking ITV viewers to help us find a new superstar - in every sense of the word. We're looking for the kind of performer who can fill arenas - and produce a rocking performance to match."

Auditions will take place across the country in February/March in London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.