Following successful productions of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz and Hairspray, NBC is continuing its recent live musical tradition. Though this year’s planned production of Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez was shelved for now, the Peacock is moving beyond the Christmas season and in 2018 will be broadcasting Jesus Christ Superstar Live! this Easter.
We knew that already, but now there’s some casting news: shock-rock legend Alice Cooper will be playing King Herod in this mounting of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic musical. Directing will be Tony Award nominee David Leveaux (Nine, Romeo and Juliet).
“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 of 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.”
NBC’s musicals have been a mixed bag for this viewer (The Wiz was far and away the best of the bunch); none of them have met the bar set by Fox’s live presentation of Grease. But this is encouraging casting so far! At least we know Cooper knows the material...