NBC is about to mount its most ambitious live musical yet, and we have the (equally ambitious) photos to get the crowds excited. Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert is coming to the network on April 1, 2018, which not-so-incidentally happens to be Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ Superstar, the beloved rock musical, will rise again after years of being a favorite of high school theater groups. NBC announced early in 2017 that Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera would be their next live musical, a follow-up to Hairspray in 2016.
Jesus Christ Superstar is eerily relevant today, more so than any live musical we've seen in the "live TV production" trend thus far. The show positions Jesus Christ as a benefactor of happenstance — the right man at the right time, not necessarily the "chosen" Messiah described in religious texts. Additionally, Webber and his collaborator Tim Rice wrote the show from the point of view of Judas Iscariot, whose name has become synonymous with "traitor." Webber and Rice sough to exculpate Judas with the musical; there's another side to the Judas/Jesus story, and Webber told it with rock music. Jesus Christ Superstar examines the way fame and legends can warp a person's perception — what happens when Jesus Christ isn't just a prophet, but he's also kind of a celebrity? Does he then adopt the diva-like habits celebrities are rumored to have? What happens to the ego of someone dubbed "the chosen one"? In Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus is the only apostle to voice these concerns.
In NBC's live version, Jesus Christ will be played by John Legend (pictured ahead looking particularly cool). Brandon Victor Dixon, who took over for Leslie Odom Jr. in Hamilton, will play Judas Iscariot. Sara Bareilles (Waitress) will play Mary Magdalene, rocker Alice Cooper will play King Herod, Jason Tam (Lysistrata Jones) will play Peter, and Jin Ha (M. Butterfly) will play Annas.
Ahead, see the exclusive photos of the cast onstage. Be warned: There is a really cool leather vest involved.