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Neeley still singing in latest tour of 'Superstar'

Actor Ted Neeley has been playing Jesus longer than Jesus was alive. And at 64, he's nearly twice the age the religious figure is said to have been when he died.

But a few wrinkles here and there haven't stopped the actor from lending that familiar set of pipes to yet another production of the rock opera classic "Jesus Christ Superstar."

In what has been called his "farewell tour" - a claim he's so far written off as rumor - Neeley once again takes on the role that has essentially defined his career, and even earned him a best actor nod at the 1974 Golden Globes (for his turn in the Norman Jewinson-directed film version).

Joining him onstage as disloyal apostle Judas Iscariot, a figure that the narrative of "Superstar" paints slightly more sympathetically than usual, is former "Living Colour" lead singer (and Grammy-winning vocalist) Corey Glover.

The two big-name leads headline the latest incarnation of a show that marked the first-ever collaboration between Broadway giants Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, a rock-tinged retelling of the last week in the life of Christ backed by an orchestral chorus of drums and electric guitars.

Much less controversial now than it was a few decades ago, "Superstar" has since been embraced by audiences spiritual and secular alike, despite its unconventional use of anachronisms like modern-day dialogue and villains who carry guns instead of swords.

"Jesus Christ Superstar," a Broadway Across America production, will be performed tonight through Sunday night at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. For more information, call 770-916-2800 or visit www.cobbenergycentre.com.