The Stratford Shakespeare Festival's performance of Jesus Christ Superstar Saturday night proved especially thrilling, given the special guest who stopped by for the show — creator Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The musical theatre maestro took in the Ontario festival's new production of his 1970s-era, Bible-inspired rock musical, which he created with Tim Rice.

He took some time to visit with the cast, who didn't know he was in the audience until he turned up backstage after the final curtain.

The festival's current revival, which is directed by Stratford artistic director and Broadway veteran Des McAnuff, has received favourable reviews since its official opening on June 3.

Lloyd Webber was invited to Stratford by McAnuff and his visit has fuelled rumours of a potential move for the musical to other stages following its current run. Past productions such as  The Importance of Being Earnest, King Lear and Barrymore have moved on to New York.

"The festival would love [Jesus Christ Superstar ] to have a life beyond Stratford," festival publicity director Ann Swerdfager said in a statement.  

During his one-day stop in Stratford, Lloyd Webber also took in a festival performance of Camelot.