Scheduled for Sunday, 1 April 2018, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” is coming to NBC.
The latest production in an extensive line of “LIVE!” televised events, the Alex Rudzinski directed “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” will feature Alice Cooper, John Legend and Sara Bareilles, as King Herod, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, respectively.
Like that seen with the original Broadway production, the NBC production features mainstream recording artists. NBC Announced Cooper’s involvement in the production as early as Dec. 2017. In playing King Herod, Cooper is bound to bring to the role a distinct interpretation synonymous to the actor.
Herod had previously embodied by such talents as Edmund Purdom, Frank Thring, José Ferrer, Christopher Plummer and Luca De Dominicis in various television and film productions centred on the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Not long after NBC revealed Cooper is set to step into Herod’s shoes, it was announced Legend has been cast in the title role. Singer, songwriter, musician and actor Legend has frequently been seen as a musical guest on such television shows such as “Live! with Kelly,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Today.”
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” is not Legend’s first rodeo as an actor. Beginning in 2004 with the Ben Mor directed video short “John Legend: Used to Love U,” Legend has been seen in no fewer than 33 productions, making the latest musical number 34.
Bareilles is every bit as accomplished as her fellow “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” co-stars. With an acting career beginning with the 2004 Lee Friedlander written and directed “Girl Play,” Bareilles has been seen in television productions such as “30 Rock” and “Community.”
As a musician, Bareilles’ work has been used extensively in television series.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” is not the first “LIVE!” musical adaptation NBC has brought to the small screen. Beginning in 2013 with the Rob Ashford / Beth McCarthy-Miller co-directed “The Sound of Music Live!,” NBC’s audience has seen adaptations of “Peter Pan Live!” (2014), “The Wiz Live!” (2015) and “Hairspray Live!” (2016) televised.
Originally planned to hit television screens in 2017, “Bye Bye Birdie Live!” set to feature Jennifer Lopez as Rose Alvarez. With NBC remaining committed to producing “Bye Bye Birdie,” there are hopes the production will go ahead after “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!”
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” hits television screens Easter Sunday 2018. As a side note, Easter Sunday 2018 collides with April Fool’s Day. Since Sunday, 1 April 1725, this is only the tenth time the two days have collided: (1804, 1866, 1877, 1888, 1923, 1934, 1945 and 1956).
After this coming 1 April 2018, the next time we see Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day occupy the same day will be Sunday, 1 April 2029.