'Jesus Christ Superstar' has its lead: John Legend

LOS ANGELES - John Legend has been tapped for the title role in NBC's live staging of "Jesus Christ Superstar," set for Easter Sunday.

"We're all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. "This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn't anyone better to bring this story to a new audience. His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way."

Legend is a multi-hyphenate musician, songwriter, actor and producer who has become active in television as a thesp and producer. He's a 10-time Grammy winner and an Oscar winner for his work on the song "Glory" from the 2014 drama "Selma." He won a Tony Award earlier this year as a producer of "Jitney," the August Wilson revival.

"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."

NBC announced in May that its latest live musical will bow on April 1. Rocker Alice Cooper has been cast as King Herrod.

"Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" is based on the 1971 Broadway musical revolving around the last week of Jesus' life.

The project has a murderer's row of producers on board. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have shepherded all four of NBC's live musical productions to date, are on board as are "Superstar" creators Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and Marc Platt, who was behind Fox's "Grease Live" last year and this past Sunday's "A Christmas Story Live" staging.


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