A Sunderland singer has landed the starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming production of musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Mackem Ben Forster won the hearts of viewers in the ITV talent show Superstar, ranking top in a public vote to become the next Jesus Christ.
The 31-year-old, who was in tears at the news, said: "I can't believe it. I didn't think this would happen in my lifetime."
Ben, who has performed since childhood, belonged to the National Youth Theatre and later attended the Italia Conti Stage School.
He has already performed in West End musicals Le Cave and Grease, and also made it through to boot camp in ITV1's 2009 series of X Factor.
The singer told Sky Tyne and Wear the role of Jesus Christ was "one of the most important roles you can play in a musical."
The 31-year-old will now play the son of God in the arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar which begins in September.
The musical, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, will also feature a number of other celebrities.
These include comic Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot and DJ Chris Moyles as King Herod.
Former Spice Girl and Superstar judge Melanie C will also be performing in the musical, taking on the role of Mary Magdalene.
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Did you vote for your favourite Jesus Christ Superstar?
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