Jesus Christ Superstar Live in ConcertLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:00PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert offered three lessons in staging a TV musical
One lesson is that concert staging works. "The larger lesson is one that all live TV musicals can learn from: Strict photorealism is not your friend," says Constance Grady. "The trick is to borrow from performance styles that already have accepted cinematographies, that audiences know how to watch on television already. We’re used to watching rock concerts on TV. We know what they’re supposed to look like." Another lesson is that sung-through shows, where the audience doesn't have to move between "different layers of artifice and emotional reality" between dialogue and songs, help keep the energy level of viewers high, says Grady. The third lesson is that spectacle is the most important. "In Jesus Christ Superstar Live," she says, "the spectacle was as simple and evocative as the shot of the back of the stage opening up, forming a cross made out of negative space, as Jesus’s cross floats back into the fog. It’s a moment that would do very little in a produced movie, and the effects could be tricky to handle in a theater. But in a live TV musical special, it became the kind of extraordinary, haunting image that future live TV musicals would do well to emulate."
- "A blasphemous piece of well-crafted trash": Much of religious America hated Jesus Christ Superstar Live because old criticisms die hard
- It's a minor miracle!: Jesus Christ Superstar Live "was the closest that live television has come to creating a hybrid new form, combining elements of epic cinema, the stage musical, and the concert film," says Matt Zoller Seitz
- Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon stole the show as Judas
- TV musicals are judged on the "outright disaster" scale, but Jesus Christ Superstar Live never registered as a joke
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 2:55PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live tops Easter Sunday with 9.6 million viewers
The John Legend-led NBC TV musical was No. 1 on Sunday night, beating American Idol. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert also topped previous TV musicals like Fox's A Christmas Story Live! and The Passion, and NBC's Hairspray Live! and Peter Pan Live!
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:51AM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert had a lot of excess, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing
NBC's latest live musical was a lot to take in, says Maureen Ryan. "This musical threw together glitter, sequins, leather, writhing hotties, a few big performances pitched to the last row, and camerawork that often felt as though it was hopped up on too many lattes," she says. "Actually, the ragged edges of a unifying concept did emerge over the course of the NBC musical’s two-hour-and-20-minute running time: If its philosophy could be summed up in one word, 'excess' would just about cover it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But this live show was a lot. The musical was intensely earnest, often endearingly so."
- This was the best TV musical yet, providing viewers with an actual spiritual experience
- It was a "very successful experiment" that marked the revival of the TV musical
- The emotional climax saved the overblown first half
- NBC wisely surrounded John Legend with spectacular theater vets
- It was an exhilarating production that revolutionized the "still-evolving live musical format"
- The star power was equaled by depth of feeling and characterization in all the principals
- Chrissy Teigen took on trolls, but had a fun time live-tweeting her husband as Jesus
- Jesus Christ Superstar lyricist Tim Rice tweeted: "Good to see something we wrote a while back still appreciated"
- Here are seven things you didn't see on the TV broadcast
Posted Friday 3/30/18 at 9:30PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live director plans to "send many thousands of volts of surprising energy through a TV screen"
Director David Leveaux says Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is a new experience, even for veterans of live TV musicals. "There are so many raw live elements of this show, it’s quite new," he says. "They may not admit it, but some people are quite nervous because you can’t control everything. That’s what makes it exciting. And if it fails, we’re hoping to fail forward.”
Posted Tuesday 3/13/18 at 10:17PM EDT
Check out Jesus Christ Superstar Live's rehearsal photos
John Legend, Alice Cooper and Sara Bareilles have been busy in New York City prepping for the April 1 Easter Sunday performance. ALSO: See NBC's promo clip.
Posted Friday 2/23/18 at 1:50AM EST
Check out NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live poster
John Legend transforms into Jesus in the key art for the live NBC musical, scheduled for Easter Sunday.
Posted Thursday 2/22/18 at 2:24PM EST
Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon to play Judas on NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live
The two-time Tony nominee will play Jesus’ betrayer in the Easter Sunday live musical.
Posted Sunday 1/07/18 at 3:33AM EST
Sara Bareilles joins NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! as Mary Magdalene
The singer-songwriter will star opposite John Legend and Alice Cooper on the April 1 Easter Sunday production.
Posted Tuesday 12/19/17 at 10:26AM EST
John Legend to play Jesus in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar live musical
Legend will play the title role on the Easter Sunday April 1 live production of the famous musical, officially titled Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn’t anyone better to bring this story to a new audience,” says NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, in a statement. “His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.” Legend said he’s “humbled” to accept the role, adding: “We've already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I'm certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice.” ALSO: Can Legend revive the live TV musical genre after Fox's A Christmas Story Live! stumbled?
Posted Friday 12/08/17 at 1:38PM EST
Alice Cooper to play King Herod on NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live!
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said of casting the rock 'n' roll legend on the live musical: “Alice Cooper, whose theatricality is the stuff of legend, is the perfect rock star to play Herod in our live production. 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.”