The NBC production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live! has cast its first role.
Alice Cooper, a seminal figure in rock ‘n’ roll whose compelling stage presence has made him a must see for five decades, has been cast as the flamboyant King Herod in NBC’s staged rock concert of Jesus Christ Superstar Live!, to be aired Easter Sunday, April 1.
Also joining the production is esteemed British theatre director David Leveaux, a five-time Tony Award nominee who has directed some of the most noteworthy productions in the U.K. and on Broadway, including the 2003 revival of Nine, starring Antonio Banderas, and 2008’s revival of Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner.
“Alice Cooper, whose theatricality is the stuff of legend, is the perfect rock star to play Herod in our live production,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote a showstopping musical number for Herod and we all look forward to the ‘King of Shock Rock’ taking on the King of Judea. As the casting for ‘Superstar’ ramps up, we can feel the excitement building for this brand new concert experience of what has long been considered the original rock musical.”
The Jesus Christ Superstar album hit #1 on the Billboard charts and made its way to the stage in 1971. It is based on the final week of Jesus’ life. The 1971 musical opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway and starred Jeff Fenholt as Jesus and Ben Vereen as Judas. It was nominated for five Tonys, including Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Vereen. Lloyd Webber won a Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Composer.
There have been many revivals of Jesus Christ Superstar over the 46 years since its debut, including 2000 and 2012 Broadway versions that each earned a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Musical. The 1973 film was directed by Oscar winner Norman Jewison and starred Ted Neeley.
When the production of ‘Superstar’ was originally announced, Greenblatt said, “Casting has just begun, but we want to fill out this classic show with as many recording artists as possible to give proper voice to what is the original rock opera score.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live! will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.