04/16/2014 04:50 pm ET

Ted Neeley, Original 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' Hopes Pope Francis Will Come To The Musical

Ted Neeley captured viewers' hearts in 1973 as the original lead in "Jesus Christ Superstar," and now he's hoping to win over one more fan-- Pope Francis.

Neeley is reprising his iconic role as Jesus four decades later in Rome, with a musical version of the hit rock opera. He told Agence France-Presse that the pope will be "just down the street and we're hoping he's going to come visit us and see the show. I think he's a wonderful, wonderful man."

Though the film was initially considered controversial by some Catholic groups, it later received the blessing of Pope Paul VI, according to AFP.

Director Massimo Romeo Piparo said that he was honored to have Neeley playing the part of Jesus. The musical will open on Good Friday, because "it's an ideal show for Easter because it brings together lay people and Catholics."

Neeley is excited to continue sharing the story of Jesus Christ, Superstar. He said, "It's a wonderful piece. Children love it, they learn the story, they adore the melodies. We are all connected to this spirituality, it is magical."



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