John Legend has signed on to play the title role in NBC’s live version of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Penned by theater heavyweights Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1970, the musical started life as a rock opera concept album, before debuting on Broadway a year later.
Over the last four decades it has garnered cult status, with Legend set to breath new life into the part of Jesus when NBC stage their live version on Easter Sunday (01Apr18).
“I’m thrilled to join the cast of this production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,’” Legend said in a statement. “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.”
Oscar winner Legend, who also has 10 Grammys to his name, will be joined by rock legend Alice Cooper as King Herod.
“We’re all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus. 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,” praised Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producers behind NBC’s four previous live musical productions, are once again on board, along with creators Lloyd Webber and Rice.
"We are thrilled to have @johnlegend join us as Jesus for @JCSTheMusical Live! this Easter #TeamALW," Lloyd Webber tweeted on Tuesday (19Dec17).
Jesus Christ Superstar has enjoyed numerous revivals around the world over the years, and played to packed out audiences in London’s Regent's Park Open Air Theater in the summer of 2016 and 2017.