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Jesus Christ Superstar Live: About That Unique Crucifixion Choice

At the darkest moment in Sunday’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live, production designer Jason Ardizzone-West found a way to sneak in a little light.

As John Legend’s Jesus was strung up and crucified at the end of Jesus’ trials and tribulations, he ascended into — and then disappeared into — a cross made of light. (Nice counterpoint to the character’s literally glowing entry at the start of the show, eh?)

“The whole crucifixion sequence is inspired by this beautiful church designed by Tadao Ando, who’s a Japanese architect,” Ardizzone-West told TVLine as the sets were being assembled at Brooklyn’s Marcy Armory a few weeks before the telecast. “He created this beautiful crucifix that is essentially just made out of the negative space of material.”

He added: “David and I were very inspired by that, and the idea of the simplicity of and the grace of this image of Jesus Christ disappearing into the light.”