We always knew John Legend’s voice was angelic, but is it messianic? Apparently so!
The crooner has been named to the title role in NBC’s upcoming live musical event, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!, as announced on the Today show Tuesday morning.
Oscar, Golden Globe, Tony, and 10-time Grammy Award winner Legend has been dipping his toes into the acting ring quite a bit lately, appearing in last year’s award-winning La La Land, and playing Frederick Douglass on TV’s Underground earlier this year.
“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.”
Earlier this month, the network announced that Alice Cooper would be playing King Herod, while David Leveaux, a Tony Award nominee, would be directing the live stage production being filmed before an audience atMarcy Armory in Brooklyn, New York.
“We want to fill out this classic show with as many recording artists as possible to give proper voice to what is the original rock opera score,” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said when the show selection was first announced in May 2017. In Tuesday’s announcement, he noted that Legend’s casting “is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”
The original musical, based on the final week of Jesus’ life, opened on Broadway in 1971, and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, who wrote it, will executive produce the event.
“John Legend is a superstar,” Rice said in a statement. “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 Live! will air on Easter Sunday, April 1, on NBC.