Coming on top of the news that rock legend Alice Cooper will play King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, another “Legend” has joined the cast. Oscar, Golden Globe, Tony and 10-time Grammy Award winner John Legend has signed-on to portray the titular character in the live musical event to be aired Easter Sunday, April 1 on NBC.
“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.”
John Legend is currently represented on Broadway, having written songs for SpongeBob SquarePants. He won a Tony Award last-season as a producer of the revival of August Wilson’s Jitney. He won an Oscar for his song “Glory” which was featured in the 2015 film Selma, which chronicled the 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama.
Legend, who has released five studio albums, began his impressive Grammy run in 2006 when he won Best New Artist for his debut release “Get Lifted,” which captured Best R&B Album. “Get Lifted,” along with each of his next three albums – “Once Again,” “Evolver” and “Love in the Future” – reached the Top 5 in album sales on the Billboard charts and achieved gold status.
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 John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius. British director David Leveaux will helm the production.
“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.”
Jesus Christ Superstar, originally a Billboard chart-topping concept album with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, first played on Broadway in 1971. It has received myriad productions around the world, was turned into a feature film in 1973, and has returned to Broadway in 1977, 2000, and 2012. The score features such well-known songs as “I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, “Gethsemane”, “Heaven on Their Minds”, and the title song.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com