John Legend has been cast as Jesus Christ in NBC’sJesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! production, to air Easter Sunday, Apr. 1. The show will take place at Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Joining the creative team also as executive producers are Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius.
“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus,” said 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.”
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! will be produced by Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions and Zadan/Meron Productions. The production will be helmed by British theater director David Leveaux.
Alice Cooper was previously announced for the role of King Herod.
“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.”
Legend is an accomplished musician, actor and film producer. In 2015, he, along with Common, won the Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy for their song “Glory” from the film Selma. In 2006 he won the Best New Artist Grammy for his debut release “Get Lifted,” which captured Best R&B Album.
Legend worked with Platt on the 2016 film La La Land, in which he also appeared and Platt produced.
“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.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.