TV Critic’s Corner

Already a Legend, and now a ‘Superstar’

John Legend will star in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!” April 1 on NBC.
Amy Harris/Invision/AP/file
John Legend will star in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!” April 1 on NBC.

What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening?

As someone who can scream-sing “Jesus Christ Superstar” from start to finish, this turns me on more than most of the live TV musicals we’ve seen in recent years. NBC is doing “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!” for Easter Sunday, which falls on April 1, 2018.

The production, to be directed by David Leveaux at Marcy Armory in Brooklyn, will star Oscar, Golden Globe, Tony, and Grammy winner John Legend as Jesus. And Legend’s Jesus will have a formidable foe: Alice Cooper has been cast as King Herod, the guy who croons, “Prove to me that you’re no fool, walk across my swimming pool.”


Perhaps the title has the words “In Concert” attached to it to draw viewers who might not be Broadway-friendly? No word yet on who’ll play the other major roles, including Mary and Judas, but I’m betting they’ll come from the world of pop like Legend and Cooper.

“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,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement about Legend. “His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.”

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.