Jesus Christ Superstar Live NBC Easter Musical

Jesus Christ Superstar Live!: NBC Plans Andrew Lloyd Webber Hit for Easter

Hosanna, hey sanna sanna sanna ho: NBC will ring in Easter 2018 with Jesus Christ Superstar Live!.

The network will stage the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Time Rice 1971 rock opera on Easter Sunday, April 1.

“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 chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. He added that casting — which will focus heavily on recording artists — had just begun.

The Tony-nominated Broadway musical follows the final days of Jesus Christ and features songs including “Everything’s All Right” and “What’s the Buzz.” In 1971, it was made into a feature-length film starring Ted Neeley as Jesus.

Jesus Christ Superstar will follow Bye Bye Birdie Live!, starring Jennifer Lopez, which will air during the 2017 holiday season.

Webber, Rice and Marc Platt (Broadway’s Wicked) will executive-produce the event alongside Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the team behind NBC’s live adaptations of The Sound of MusicPeter PanThe Wiz and Hairspray.

In 2016, Fox’s The Passion tackled the same topic in a sorta-live, contemporary retelling of Jesus’ last days that starred Trisha Yearwood, Chris Daughtry and Seal and aired on Palm Sunday.

Are you looking forward to watching Superstar unfold on Easter? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. iHeart says:

    wait April Fools day is going to be on the same day as Easter Sunday this year?

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m all over this. can we get Jim Cavizel to play Jesus?

    • Jp says:

      No..ted Neeley is still touring and the only one for this role!

      • Ann says:

        Please, no Ted Neeley! He just screams out everything…I never understood why people like him so much. Plus, he’s way too old to play the role. Onstage, you can’t see all his wrinkles, but with tv, you can see everything. I would like to see Constantine Maroulis play Jesus! He’s got Broadway credits now and would do nicely for the role. Adam Lambert can play Judas!

        • Ann says:

          Oh, and Kelly Clarkson as Mary Magdalene.

        • Jennifer says:

          I thought about Constantine – I saw him in Jekyll and Hyde and he was great. Now .. this might be out there, but I recently saw Brendon Urie (???) from Panic! at the Disco with my daughter and he could probably pull of either role. He’s taking over the lead role in Kinky Boots soon.

          • Suzie Que says:

            Constantine is doing it at the MUNY in St Louis in June. I’ve seen him as Judas live (and Jesus on video) and he’s spectacular.

  3. SamofSherwood says:

    Sounds promising!

  4. Jp says:

    Ted Neeley MUST be in it.

    • Billy Bob Johnson says:

      No, he must not. Too old for the role on TV.

      • E. D. Boddy says:

        “He must be in it” doesn’t mean he has to play Jesus. “Supergirl” is full of people from Superman movies and shows who aren’t playing their original characters.

  5. TV Gord says:

    This is a great choice! I think this show is tailor-made for TV! I hope they include, “Could We Start Again, Please”, the Yvonne Elliman song that was added for the movie. It quickly became one of my all-time favorite songs!

    • kalli says:

      Could We Start Again, Please? is routinely included in stage productions and is packaged with the rights. The one that’s missing is Annas’ character song ‘We Are Decided’, because it makes the Romans look sympathetic.

  6. Jules says:

    Since it’s on NBC. They can cast it with alums from The Voice.

  7. Andrew says:

    I know they are trying to stay away from recording artists, but I think Mandy Moore would be perfect for Mary.

    • M says:

      ” casting — which will focus heavily on recording artists —”

      Looks like they *want* recording artists. I agree that Mandy Moore would be great as Mary.

      • M says:

        Just had another thought: Jonathan Groff as Herod. (Or is that sort of type-casting, after King George in Hamilton?).

        • Jennifer says:

          OMG. Yes. Didn’t even think of that. What about Hugh Jackman as Judas? Or maybe Groff as Judas and Jackman as Herod?

  8. AnnieM says:

    This sounds fine, but I wish somebody would air the occasional play, too. Anyone else out there old enough to remember ‘Broadway on Showtime’ from back in the 80’s? I think I watched and enjoyed most every play they aired. I wish some network would do that again.

    • paula says:

      I remember Broadway on Showtime! They had plays and some musicals too – I’m pretty sure that’s where I saw Purlie and Pippin. PBS used to have plays – don’t know if they still do.

  9. Karen Halunen says:

    Saw it Broadway when new superb show. Jeff fenholt(black oak Arkansas) lead Ben veteen Judas. Show is perfect for NBC live. Way it should be seen. Looking g forward to it

  10. Annie Sisk says:

    Singers *who can act* please. JCS isn’t a concert.

    • M says:

      Agreed. I know they want recognizable “names” – but I’d rather they went for Broadway performers.

      • Annie Sisk says:

        Exactly. This work in particular demands people with the whole Broadway skillset. But they’ll go for name recognition. Heck, even Broadway does these days, sadly.

  11. claudiagail says:

    I’ve seen onstage productions of this and Godspell which came out at the same time. I always thought Godspell was much better. I guess it depends on who they cast in this, but I’m not holding out much hope that this will be something I will want to watch.

    • iHeart says:

      why don’t they just do Godspell instead?

      • Jennifer says:

        Because, while both are Broadway, Godspell is more … I guess fun and easy, while JCS is very much more a rock opera, and portrayed a lot darker, even though they are essentially the same thing

        • M says:

          I agree about the differences in tone, but they’re not essentially the same. Godspell mostly tells the parables from the gospel of Matthew – with the last supper and crucifixion included – while JCS is about the last week of Jesus’ life.

      • TV Gord says:

        I think Godspell was very much “of its time”, while JCSS is more of a timeless, linear story of Jesus.

        Besides, if they did Godspell, there would be a flood of people asking why they aren’t doing JCSS. This way, they just have a few diehards who would rather see Godspell. (Personally, I love ’em both!)

      • Ann says:

        It’s because between the two shows, Jesus Christ Superstar is the more well-known show and more likely to get higher ratings. Plus, it has the more well-known songs and music. It’s possible to do Godspell in a few years if JCS does well in the ratings.

  12. Joan Austin says:

    Adam Lambert as Judas – there’s a YT of his singing “Heaven on their Minds” a number of years ago – brilliant –

  13. annieo53 says:

    Cool! I bet I still know most of the words. Loved Godspell too!

  14. Sally McLinn says:

    A year away! HOw about this year??

  15. teeveenerd says:

    They should get Titus to play Judas!

  16. J.B. says:

    Something tells me there might be some backlash to this. I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC backs out at some point. I hope I’m wrong because I really like JCSS, both the stage production and the film.

    • Billy Bob Johnson says:

      Why? Too christian? It’s Easter. Between that and Christmas, it’s a natural fit. Would doing Fiddler on the Roof on Rosh Hashana balance it out a little?

      • J.B. says:

        Whoa. You went from 0 to out-of-left-field in no time. April 1st is irrelevant to the conversation. NBC isn’t beholden to that specific date when airing their live musicals. The content obviously dictated the date not the other way around. And what is with the snarky Jewish comment? Too Christian? LOL As somebody who is most definitely not one or Jewish, because that seems to be you’re default thinking, I actually like JCS. You would know that if you read my comment closely. So “too Christian” has nothing to do with it.
        If you’re familiar with JCS and are aware of the controversy it stirred when the original stage production and subsequent film was released then you should know a little bit about what I’m referring to. If you don’t, educate yourself. Also casting is something I can see people complaining about a lot. If you think about long enough you can connect the dots. The tweets and blog posts and comments are already writing themselves. Please, do the maths before commenting. Or at the very least don’t be so reactionary.

  17. Donna says:

    Let the countdown begin

  18. M says:

    Great choice!

  19. Niamh Spruance says:

    Jared Leto as Jesus and Adam Lambert as Judas.

  20. Gloria says:

    I remember when that came out , I was in high school in a catholic school and we reviewed it in class. We all loved it and I still do

  21. slfisher says:

    Judas: Lin Manuel Miranda
    Jesus: Josh Groban
    Mary Magdalene: Lorde
    Herod: Neil Patrick Harris or Nathan Lane
    Pilate: Hugh Jackman
    Caiphas: Avi from Pentonix

  22. Gloria says:

    I’m really looking forward to seeing it in 2018. I loved it when I was in school. We took it in religion class in the 70’s