The rock musical will air on Easter Sunday 2018
John Legend has been cast as Jesus Christ in NBC’s special event Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! to be aired Easter Sunday, April 1st. NBC continues to innovate its live musical productions with the staging of this iconic rock opera in front of a large audience at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Joining the creative team also as executive producers are John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius. Rock icon Alice Cooper was previously announced for the role of King Herod and the production will be helmed by esteemed British theatre director David Leveaux.
“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus,” says Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn’t anyone better to bring this story to a new audience. His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”
“John Legend is a superstar,” states Tim Rice, lyricist of Jesus Christ Superstar. “As a performer, his voice is infectious and effortless. As an actor, he is believable and honest. I’m thrilled he will be able to share his portrayal of Jesus with the world.”
“I’m thrilled to join the cast of this production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” comments Legend. “It’s such a powerful, meaningful musical and I’m humbled to be part of this performance. We’ve already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I’m certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice.”
The Jesus Christ Superstar album hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and made its way to the stage in 1971. It is based on the final week of Jesus’ life. The 1971 musical opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway and starred Jeff Fenholt as Jesus and Ben Vereen as Judas. It was nominated for five Tonys, including Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Vereen. Lloyd Webber won a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Composer.
Since then, the musical has been considered a classic and has become a staple of theatre and music organizations throughout the world. It has been performed in nearly 20 countries and translated into 18 different languages. There have been many revivals of Jesus Christ Superstar over the 46 years since its debut, including 2000 and 2012 Broadway versions that each earned a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Musical. The 1973 film was directed by Oscar winner Norman Jewison and starred Ted Neeley.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.