NBC's upcoming live production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" has found its Jesus Christ, and it's John Legend. The network announced via press release on Tuesday that it had signed the Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer to play the title role in "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.
"I'm thrilled to join the cast of this production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,'" Legend said in the release. “It's such a powerful, meaningful musical and I'm humbled to be part of this performance. We've already formed an incredible team, and as we finish casting, I'm certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice."
It's not the first musical that John Legend has performed in; he had a supporting role as Keith in the critically acclaimed musical film "La La Land" last year, while also co-writing and producing the song "Start A Fire" for the film's soundtrack. But "Jesus Christ Superstar Live" will be his largest acting role yet. Legend has been involved in film and TV since 2006, but largely playing himself, save for a part as Marcus Hooks in the 2008 comedy "Soul Men" and portraying a forest ranger in "A Colbert Christmas" the same year.
Legend joins Alice Cooper, who was previously announced to portray King Herod, in "Jesus Christ Superstar Live." The remaining roles have yet to be cast, but the show will be the latest in NBC's growing history of live musicals, which have previously included "Hairspray Live," "Peter Pan Live," and "The Sound of Music Live." And the combination of John Legend with Alice Cooper - two well-known musical artists who would normally not be performing together - should draw many music fans to checking out this production next spring.
Legend's latest album, Darkness and Light, is just over a year old as it was released on Dec. 2, 2016. The record reached the fifth position on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart, and number 15 on the overall Billboard 200. You can watch Legend perform the song "Overload" by playing the video above. After putting out that successful album, playing the title character in a live musical that will reach millions of viewers in a single night is a way for Legend to make a big splash in 2018. And though he has not announced a U.S. tour for next year, perhaps he'll be able to work a number or two from the show into his next set list.
For more on John Legend, visit his artist page at AXS.