It’s the perfect soundtrack for your Easter celebration.
There’s a musical spectacular coming to television on Easter Sunday, and it’s guaranteed to put heaven on your mind.
The soaring rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar will air on NBC in a live concert staging on Sunday, April 1. It’s directed by David Leveaux and features a starry cast of characters from the world of music and musical theatre: John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, Alice Cooper as Herod, Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot, and Norm Lewis as Caiaphas. The three-hour concert event is being staged at Marcy Armory in Brooklyn, and you can see sneak peeks of the space, production design, and performances here and here.
The show—with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the team behind Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—began as a 1970 concept album before making the move to Broadway, where it premiered in 1971. It was nominated for five Tony Awards and, in the decades since its debut, has been translated into 18 languages and produced in countries around the world. The rock opera was also made into a popular 1973 movie musical starring Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, and Yvonne Elliman.
The plot of the musical unfolds over the final week in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, from Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem to the Crucifixion. It loosely interprets accounts from the Gospels and depicts challenges and conflicts between Jesus and his disciples through unforgettable songs including “Heaven on Their Minds,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” and “Superstar.”
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Will you be watching this Easter Sunday? What popular musicals should get the television treatment next?