Andrew Lloyd Webber said the hunt for a new lead in Jesus Christ Superstar would take the show back to its ‘roots’, after moving from the BBC to ITV.
The musical impresario, who has found stars for The Sound Of Music, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Oliver! and The Wizard Of Oz at the BBC, confirmed the move.
It comes after his BBC programmes were criticised for serving Lord Lloyd Webber’s own commercial interests.
The winner will have a lead role in an arena tour of the rock opera, which will open at London’s O2 Arena.
Lord Lloyd Webber said the new show would allow him to be a ‘lot more hands-on’ with the performers.
He said: “I think it’s going to be very exciting. What I’m really excited about is we are taking it back to how it started in an arena.
“I’m looking for a rock band that can play 140 songs. I want the whole thing to be about a complete rock band and I want to see if the kids can do it or not.”
Auditions begin next month and take place in London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff.
The most promising new talent will perform on stage in front of Lord Lloyd Webber and a panel of judges.
He said: “Presenting a new, 2012 version of Jesus Christ Superstar for arenas is truly exciting.”