International pop superstar John Legend didn’t seem like the most likely candidate to play Jesus in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live! In talking to the soft spoken star, he admitted that doing a Broadway show has always been in the back of his mind. In high school he performed lead roles in Big River, Fiddler on the Roof, Your a Good Man Charlie Brown and Godspell. He was also a producer on last seasons Tony Award winning revival Jitney.
Coming from a religious background, Legend grew up in the El Bethel Temple in Springfield, Ohio. His grandfather was the pastor and his mother the music minster. John use to call most people CME’s, meaning they only went to church on Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter.
John is thrilled to be taking on this role which he sees as modern America. “Most actors who have portrayed Jesus look like they came from Oslo, where in reality they would have been a different shade. I am looking forward to singing Gethsemane. I find this song truly powerful. Jesus is on a awesome mission and these are his moments of doubt, before that quest. This show has reconnected me and inspired me to live a life of inspiration that impacts other people’s lives. In interpreting this message you become a way and a path to light. I pray that through this piece, that love, charity and sacrifice come through. This is a revolutionary love”.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert airs on Easter Sunday and will be filmed in front of a live audience at the Marcy Armory in Brooklyn. I am expecting Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless rock score to soar with a 32 piece orchestra and rock band.