Jesus Christ Superstar Headed for the Small Screen
MAY 10, 2017
The groundbreaking Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice piece Jesus Christ Superstar is the next live-musical on the roster for NBC Television.
NBC will bring to broadcast television a one-of-a-kind live staging of the iconic 1971 Broadway rock opera on April 1, 2018. The event will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. No cast or creative team has been named. Further details will be forthcoming.
Originally conceived as a concept album that climbed the Billboard charts to #1, Jesus Christ Superstar was turned into a Broadway musical, opening at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1971. The show featured Jeff Fenholt as Jesus and Ben Vereen as Judas. It was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Vereen. Lloyd Webber won a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Composer.
Jesus Christ Superstar tells the harrowing and inspirational story of the final days of Christ, through his resurrection. Groundbreaking in its embrace of rock music for the Broadway stage, the musical features many beloved songs including “What’s the Buzz?”, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, “Gethsemane”, “Herod’s Song” and the potent title number.
Webber and Rice collaborated on two-other musicals together: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968) and Evita (1976), both of which found their way to Broadway in 1982 and 1978, respectively. Webber is currently represented on Broadway with Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, and School of Rock. Rice is a lyricist for the long-running The Lion King and Aladdin.
NBC’s has found yearly success with their annual “Live-Musicals” series that has included The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live!. This December, the next-offering will be Bye, Bye, Birdie Live! starring Jennifer Lopez, and featuring a revised book by Harvey Fierstein.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.