Another live television musical is coming our way soon, and we've got all the details on who's been cast in NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live! In the modern tradition of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz and Hairspray, the network that began our fascination with live TV musicals is now delving into rock opera territory for its next show. Jesus Christ Superstar started as a concept album, released in 1970, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. That album hit number one on the Billboard charts and in October of 1971, the Broadway musical made its debut. The show became a hit, garnering five Tony nominations and winning a Drama Desk Award for Lloyd Webber.
A film adaptation of the story, which follows the last week in the life of Jesus, wasn't far behind. The movie was released in 1973 and along with three of the stars receiving Golden Globe nominations for their work, the movie also went on to become the eighth highest-grossing film of the year.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live!, which will be executive produced by Lloyd Webber, Rice and others, is hitting the small screen next spring on April 1, which just happens to be Easter Sunday. With the live production coming up fast and furious, NBC is finally beginning to release casting details for the show, and we're going to make sure you have all the info you need on who'll be bringing their marvelous talents to the musical. Now, let's get down to it, and start with the star of the show!
Jesus Christ - John Legend
Obviously, Jesus Christ Superstar Live! would be a no-go without a commanding presence who also has amazing pipes to anchor the production, and NBC has found that in music superstar John Legend. The 10-time Grammy winner, who'll also be one of the executive producers, won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2015 and a Tony for co-producing Jitney this year. While most of his TV appearances have been on talk shows and in music videos, Legend has flexed his acting chops in WGN America's Underground and in last year's hit film La La Land. Jesus Christ Superstar is a sung-through production, with no spoken dialogue, so expect to hear a lot of John Legend's vocal stylings during the show.
King Herod - Alice Cooper
As the King of Galilee whom Jesus is brought to for judgment, rock legend Alice Cooper will fill the role of Herod. While this might seem like an odd choice, Cooper has performed one of Herod's songs before, for an album celebrating the musical which came out 17 years ago. Most music fans know Alice Cooper as The Godfather of Shock Rock, since his live shows often featured things like guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood and poisonous snakes. The heavy metal pioneer has recorded 27 albums during his career and made several film appearances, and you can bet that he'll bring some grittiness to his part.
Judas - Brandon Victor Dixon
Jesus Christ Superstar Live! has finally found its Judas in Broadway star Brandon Victor Dixon. The Tony winner, who won in 2014 as a producer of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, was also nominated in 2006 and 2016. Dixon is now largely known for taking over the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. His small screen credits include Power, where he's played Terry Silver since 2017, The Good Wife and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Mary Magdalene - Sara Bareilles
Singer-songwriter, actress and author Sara Bareilles will take on the role of Mary Magdalene in the live show. The six time Grammy nominee, who's released five studio albums, scored the Broadway musical Waitress and briefly played Jenna Hunterson in the production in 2017. Her work on the score for that show garnered her a Tony nomination for Best Original Score in 2016, along with two Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics.
Be sure to bookmark this page, as we'll be keeping it updated with new casting information for Jesus Christ Superstar Live! as it becomes available.