A certain Central Florida singer might have been destined to perform in the latest national tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar."
"Hey JC, JC, would you fight for me?" sing the ensemble in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock musical.
"My initials are JC; it was meant to be," joked JC Chasez, whose first name is Joshua.
But, alas, it apparently wasn't meant to be — at least not at this moment. Chasez had been cast in the American leg of an arena tour of "Superstar." But just a week before the tour was to kick off, producers unexpectedly and abruptly pulled the plug.
Producer Michael Cohl later described ticket sales as "horrific."
Although I spoke with Chasez before the cancellation, it's safe to say he was disappointed by the news.
Right after the announcement, he tweeted "When it rains it pours."
A member of the "All-New Mickey Mouse Club," Chasez hit the celebrity stratosphere in the late 1990s as a member of Orlando boy band 'N Sync. Later, he released a solo album and judged MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew" competition for several seasons.
Chasez, who still has a home in Orlando, wasn't going to play the show's "JC" — the title role. Instead, he was to portray Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who approved Jesus' Crucifixion. The tour had planned to stop at Orlando's Amway Center on Saturday.
"Because all of us have been in arenas of that size, we understand how to project and connect with everyone in the room," he said. "We're going to reach every corner."
He was also excited about conveying the enduring story of Jesus. The 1970 rock musical follows his last days, including such biblical events as the Last Supper and his Crucifixion.
"I don't think there's anybody as famous as Jesus," Chasez said. "We're talking about a presence, a person people talk about in their daily lives 2,000 years after he passed away."
But mostly, it was evident that Chasez was relishing the challenge of leaving his boy-band image behind — though not leaving the boys behind. He was quick to share how much fun it was reuniting with 'N Sync-ers Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Justin Timberlake last fall at the MTV Video Music Awards, where Timberlake was being honored.
"Our take on it was our friend Justin is getting an award," Chasez said. "He called us up to ask us to be a part of it. We said, 'Let's show 'em what we did.' It was more fun than anything else."
But those days are in the past.
"It's not like I'm a 20-year-old running around onstage anymore," he said with a laugh. "I've made my peace with that."
The complexity of Pilate — definitely a grown-up role — was what intrigued Chasez, now 37.
"He has a conscience," Chasez said of the character. "He's thoughtful in what he's doing but he doesn't feel good about what he's doing."
Chasez told me that he's always looking for ways to grow as a performer.
"Life is about taking chances and facing challenges," he said.
And while he looks for that next challenge, he can take refuge here in Central Florida. We talked about how much Orlando means to him.
"I've lived in Orlando since I was 12. I've spent more of my life there than anywhere else. My family's there," he said. "When I consider myself 'going home,' I mean I'm going there."