As announced on Today Show this morning, NBC has found its Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! for their live musical airing on Easter Sunday, April 1, and it’s pop superstar John Legend, whose previous musical experience was appearing in Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-nominated La La Land last year.
Legend joins rock legend Alice Cooper, who is playing King Herod in the live broadcast based on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 musical, which became the Broadway duo’s first big hit.
Legend is an Oscar, Tony and 10-time Grammy winner who has been making further forays into producing films and television shows.
Based on the last week of Jesus’ life, Jesus Christ Superstar will be directed by British theater director David Leveaux, who has won five Tony awards for productions like the 2008 Broadway revival of Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as Broadway productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Glass Menagerie and Romeo and Juliet.
The live broadcast will be produced by Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions and Zadan/Meron Productions with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius acting as EPs.
Platt previously produced La La Land, while Zadan/Meron produced the 2015 Oscar broadcast on which Legend performed the Oscar-winning original song “Glory” with Common.
Amid all the platitudes normally found in a press release was a quote from original lyricist Tim Rise saying, “John Legend is a 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.”
You can’t get a more ringing endorsement than that.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor