John Legend to play Christ

John Legend… set to play Christ in a televised production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

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BY BILLY SUTER

HIT-MAKER and award-winner John Legend, who turns 39 today (December 28), has been named as the star of a new production of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, to be staged in New York and shown live on television.

Legend, a 10-time Grammy Award-winner, will play Christ in the show, which will be shown live on the NBC network in the US, and shown later in South Africa on a DStv channel.

Also, he may be turning 70 on February 4, 2018, but the American-born Vincent Damon Furnier – better known as outrageous, long-haired, singer-songwriter Alice Cooper – is to play King Herod in the production.

The former hit-maker, who in his heyday was known as The Godfather of Shock Rock – and made use of snakes, guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, weird dolls and swords in his music performances – had hits that included  School’s Out, Poison, Hello Hurray and Billion Dollar Babies.

No other casting information has been released yet, but it has been reported that the rock musical will be screened on April 1 next year in America.

Jesus Christ Superstar will follow the previous NBC live musicals, The Sound of Music (2013), Peter Pan (2014), The Wiz (2015) and Hairspray (2016). It will be directed by British theatre director David Levaux, whose acclaimed London revival of the musical Nine, in 1991, transferred to Broadway in 2003. It starred Antonio Banderas, who received a Tony Award nomination.

lice Cooper as he appeared on the poster for his Theatre of Death concert at London’s Hammersmith in 2009.

Levaux’s many other credits include Anna Christie, staged in London and New York; Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare Company; and Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land in London. He received the Olivier Award nomination for Best Director for his 1999 revival of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing.

It has been reported that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, along with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Marc Platt, will serve as executive producers for Jesus Christ Superstar.

Alice Cooper, who adopted the name of his band in the 1970s and pursued a solo career with the 1976 album, Welcome to My Nightmare, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Wikipedia reports that he is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and has been described as the artist who “first introduced horror imagery to rock ‘n’ roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre”.

He released his 28th studio album this year.

John Legend, whose hit include All of Me, Ordinary People and the Oscar-winning Glory, was born John Roger Stephens in Ohio.

 


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