NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live! has found its King Herod. Alice Cooper has signed on to play the flamboyant King Herod in the network’s musical production set to air on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.
“Alice Cooper, whose theatricality is the stuff of legend, is the perfect rock star to play Herod in our live production,” stated Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote a showstopping musical number for Herod and we all look forward to the ‘King of Shock Rock’ taking on the King of Judea. As the casting for ‘Superstar’ ramps up, we can feel the excitement building for this brand new concert experience of what has long been considered the original rock musical.”
Jesus Christ Superstar Live! will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Lloyd Webber and Rice asked Alice Cooper to record “King Herod’s Song” back in 2000 for the cast album from the 1996’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” U.K. production.
British theatre director David Leveaux is confirmed to direct Jesus Christ Superstar Live! for NBC. Leveaux is a five-time Tony Award nominee for directing 2003’s “Nine” with Antonio Banderas, 1984’s “A Moon for the Misbegotton,” 1993’s “Anna Christie,” 2000’s “The Real Thing,” and 2004’s “Jumpers.” Leveaux’s worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre, and Donmar Warehouse in London’s Covent Garden, and his additional directing credits include “Electra,” “Betrayal,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Arcadia,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
Details on Jesus Christ Superstar, Courtesy of NBC: The Jesus Christ Superstar album hit #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.