NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! has signed up John Legend to star as Jesus Christ. The network previously announced Alice Cooper will play King Herod, with additional casting expected to be revealed soon. The live musical will air on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 and will be filmed at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.
Legend and Common won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy for their song “Glory” from the dramatic film, Selma. Legend won an additional nine Grammy Awards over the course of his career, beginning in 2006 with a win in the Best New Artist category for Get Lifted. In addition, John Legend’s a successful film producer, actor, and songwriter.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! will be directed by British theatre director David Leveaux. Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are executive producing.
“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus,” stated 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,” said 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!,” Legend said. “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.”
Jesus Christ Superstar was introduced on the stage in 1971 and focuses on the last week of Jesus’ life. The original production starred Jeff Fenholt as Jesus and Ben Vereen as Judas. A film version was released in 1973 starring Ted Neeley as Jesus and directed by Oscar winner Norman Jewison.