NBC Airing Live Version of Jesus Christ Superstar For Easter
Theater and television will come together in NBC’s live musical version of Jesus Christ Superstar. The broadcast got increased media attention when it was announced famous singer-songwriter John Legend will be playing the role of Jesus.
The singer was enthusiastic about his participation in the musical. “It’s such a powerful, meaningful musical and I’m humbled to be part of this performance.” The performance will feature Alice Cooper as King Herod. The show will air on April 1, 2018.
This is the fourth time NBC has done a live musical show, previously airing Peter Pan, The Wiz, and The Sound of Music. The musical was made by the acclaimed Andrew Llyod Webber, who tweeted his happiness on John Legend being cast in the part. Andrew Lloyd Weber is one of five producers of the show.
— Andrew Lloyd Webber (@OfficialALW) December 19, 2017
The musical was originally performed in 1971 and ran for two years, having over seven hundred performances. The show is about the end of Jesus Christ’s life. The teachings and actions of Jesus were intentionally not covered in the musical. The emphasis is on the conflict between King Herod and Jesus Christ and the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.
John Legend is one of the most accomplished popular singers of the modern era. He has won 10 Grammys, an Oscar, and a Tony. If he wins an Emmy for playing Jesus he would become a rare entertainer to claim EGOT, a performer who has won every major award in entertainment.
The casting of an African American as Jesus has been called “groundbreaking” and the producers hint that the interpretation of the rock musical will be changed to reflect issues in contemporary society.