“They thought I would be a good Jesus Christ,” says John Legend about being asked to play the title role in NBC’s live production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “I thought it was a great team, and I thought it was a cool idea to have me play Jesus and something different for me to do, and something different for this character … It’s hard to turn down playing Jesus Christ.” We talked with many of the members of that team, including producer Neil Meron, director Alex Rudzinski, choreographer Camille A. Brown and production designer Jason Ardizzone West. Follow the links at the bottom of this post to see our complete interviews, and you can also watch our chat with Legend above.
Meron has produced multiple NBC live musicals in recent years, including “The Sound of Music,” “Peter Pan” and “Hairspray.” But “Jesus Christ Superstar” was unique in that it was staged as a live concert with the live audience incorporated into the broadcast. In one sense that was actually easier for Rudzinski, who previously directed FOX’s “Grease Live!” This time he didn’t have “to get from one end of Warner Bros. to the other end of Warner Bros. in 25 seconds on golf carts with the entire production team.”
The production is also unique in that it could bring the all-time list of EGOT recipients from 12 to 15 in a single instant. Legend was a producer of “Superstar,” as were Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice who composed the score. All three of them have won at the Oscars, Grammys and Tonys, which means they’re all just an Emmy a way from completing their grand slam of showbiz awards. A victory for Best Variety Special (Live) would get the job done for all of them.
Do you think the power of “Christ” will compel Emmy voters? Check out our interviews with the team by clicking on each name below.
John Legend, as Jesus Christ
Alex Rudzinski, director
Neil Meron, producer
Camille A. Brown, choreographer
Jason Ardizzone West, production designer
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