Brandon Victor Dixon Interview: ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
“What’s most engaging about [the ‘Judas’ Death’ number] is the process that Judas is going through,” reveals Emmy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon about portraying Judas’s crisis of faith, his betrayal of Jesus, and his ultimate suicide in NBC’s live production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “It always raised interesting questions for me about why we do the things we do and whether or not we’re walking the right path.” But after that tragic moment Dixon returns to the stage in all his “silver bedazzled glory” for the showstopping title number, “Superstar,” one of the show’s most memorable performance showcases. Watch our exclusive video interview with Dixon above.
This live production of the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice was staged by NBC on Easter Sunday, April 1, as a live concert event performed for a live audience in Brooklyn, NY, and for the TV audience at home. So Dixon was perhaps ideally suited for it since he’s a Tony winning Broadway veteran (“Shuffle Along,” “Hamilton”) with a fair share of TV on his resume as well (“The Good Wife,” “Power”). “It’s a real extraordinary technological achievement that everyone was able to make everything hit at the right time on that final live moment,” says Dixon, “but in general it felt very much like a theater production in how we built it, and the execution of it very much like a television show.”
Now it’s nominated for 13 Emmys including Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for Dixon, additional acting bids for John Legend (as Jesus) and Sara Bareilles (as Mary Magdalene), and Best Variety Special (Live). “Thirteen means every department, everyone who was working on it really put their heart and soul into it, and the quality of the work and the love that was put into the work came across.” The cast and crew congratulated each other via group texts and emails, though that eventually segued into “making fun of Sir Tim Rice and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber about how England lost in the World Cup. It became a whole thing.”