Musician John Legend is to play Jesus in NBC’s forthcoming live musical remake of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! He will face up against Alice Cooper as King Herod in the Easter Sunday production, which will be helmed by esteemed British theatre director David Leveaux.
Legend, who has released five studio albums including Get Lifted, joins the NBC special, which is executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. It is his latest starring role following appearances in shows including Underground, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Soul Men. He also previously worked with Platt on La La Land as well as Zadan and Meron on the 2015 Oscar telecast.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! is NBC’s latest live musical following The Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live! and The Wiz Live! The original Broadway show starring Jeff Fenholt as Jesus of Nazareth opened in October 1971 and ran to July 1973, covering more than 700 performances.
The show, which is produced by Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions and Zadan/Meron Productions, airs on Easter Sunday, April 1.
Legend said he was thrilled to join the cast. “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.”
“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus,” added 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 ground-breaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”