Next Easter, NBC will air a live production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The telecast follows a live version of Bye Bye Birdie set to air on the same channel in December with Jennifer Lopez starring as Rose “Rosie” Alvarez.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the 1970 rock opera served as an interpretation of the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, with a larger emphasis on the conflict and struggles between Jesus and Judas Iscariot. Webber and Rice will serve as executive producers of the production alongside the same team behind Fox’s Grease Live! telecast.
“As we continue to expand the profile of our live musicals, we are thrilled to be partnering with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to bring a new live staging of the iconic Jesus Christ Superstar to NBC,” NBC entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt said in a statement, via The Hollywood Reporter. “Casting has just begun, but 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.”
Before it hit the stage, Jesus Christ Superstar was conceived of and released as a concept album with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillian singing as the character of Jesus. The staged version opened in 1971 and has been revived multiple times over the years. In 2014, a star-studded touring production of the show was set to hit the road with Johnny Rotten cast as King Herod, Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene, Incubus’ Brandon Boyd as Judas and ‘NSync’s JC Chasez as Pontius Pilate. British reality TV winner Ben Forster was set to play Jesus. The show was abruptly canceled just weeks before it was meant to hit the road due to low ticket sales.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live! will air on NBC on April 1, 2018.