Jesus Christ Superstar
Live in Concert
Jesus Christ Superstar Live.jpg
Based on
Directed by
ComposerAndrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
Production locationsMarcy Avenue Armory, Williamsburg, Brooklyn,
New York City, New York
Running time140 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNBC
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseApril 1, 2018 (2018-04-01)
Preceded byHairspray Live!
Followed byDr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical Live!

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is an American musical television special that was broadcast live on NBC on April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday) and rebroadcast (from tape) on Easter Sunday 2020, April 12, 2020. Executively produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, and Marc Platt, it was a staged concert performance of the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. It received positive reviews from critics but had a smaller viewership than earlier musical specials.

Description and plot

Main article: Jesus Christ Superstar § Plot

The musical is almost entirely sung-through, with minimal spoken dialogue. The plot is loosely based on the Canonical Gospels' accounts of the last week of the life of Jesus Christ, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion.

The disciple Judas Iscariot is worried that Jesus has become too swept up in the adoration of his followers, rather than focusing on his teachings about taking care of the poor, and that his following has grown too large and outspoken, which could soon provoke the wrath of the Roman Empire ("Heaven on Their Minds"). Judas also objects to Jesus spending his time with Mary Magdalene ("What's the Buzz / Strange Thing Mystifying"), who advises Jesus to relax ("Everything's All Right"). Judas's fears prove justified as priests Caiaphas, Annas and more gather and agree that Jesus and his movement must be crushed ("This Jesus Must Die"). Jesus enters Jerusalem filled with exaltation ("Hosanna") until he discovers that his temple has become overrun with unscrupulous merchants and money lenders. Overwhelmed by a throng of people needing his assistance, he tells them to heal themselves ("The Temple"), and his follower Mary Magdalene attempts to calm him. Fearing that Jesus' movement is getting out of control, Judas goes to the Priests and tells them where Jesus will be the following night. The Priests pay him with 30 pieces of silver. Judas arrives at Jesus' location with Roman soldiers and identifies Jesus by kissing him on the cheek. The soldiers arrest Jesus and send him to Caiaphas, then Pontius Pilate, King Herod Antipas, and finally back to Pilate, who condemns him to death on the cross.

Cast and characters




Musical numbers

The musical numbers from the track list of the soundtrack.[1]



On May 10, 2017, it was announced that NBC had selected Jesus Christ Superstar to be their next live musical event. Executive producers were expected to include Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Marc Platt, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Tim Rice.[2][3][4] In December 2017, it was reported that British theater director David Leveaux would direct[5] and that the show would be performed in front of a live audience at the Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[6] Members of the creative crew included costume designer Paul Tazewell and choreographer Camille A. Brown.[7]


In December 2017, it was announced that Alice Cooper had been cast as King Herod,[5] with John Legend in the title role.[6] The following month, it was announced that Sara Bareilles would play Mary Magdalene.[8] In February 2018, it was announced that Brandon Victor Dixon, Norm Lewis, Ben Daniels, Jason Tam, Jin Ha and Erik Grönwall had been cast as Judas, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Peter, Annas and Simon Zealotes, respectively.[9][10][11] The production included a cast of forty-four actors, including Joel Perez and Lauren Zakrin, and additional dancers.[12][13][14]


The live production included an on-camera audience of about 1,500 people. Some of these extras lined two sides of the stage and formed a mosh pit[15] effect. The production was expected to utilize as many as twelve cameras to film the special.[12] In addition, a full dress rehearsal performance took place on Saturday, March 31, 2018, in front of an invited audience and was recorded. In the event of any difficulties during the live broadcast, the recording served as an emergency backup. It was ultimately not needed.[16]


On January 7, 2018, NBC aired the first teaser trailer for the special during their broadcast of the 75th Golden Globe Awards.[17]


Critical response

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from critics since it aired. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the production holds a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 8.44/10 based on 26 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Shaking up traditional religious and musical iconography, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is a sight to be heard, superbly infiltrating the classic source material with originality, rock legend star power, and soulful depth."[18] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the production a score of 81 out of 100 based on 13 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[19]

In a positive review, The New York Times's Noel Murray praised the special saying, "A conceptual and artistic triumph, NBC’s live telecast of Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter Sunday may have finally justified the recent live musical fad on network TV. Some technical flubs and one mixed-bag lead performance aside, the production was genuinely thrilling, taking chances with the staging of a classic but controversial Broadway show, much more daring than previous live musical broadcasts like The Sound of Music or Peter Pan."[20] Offering similar acclaim, The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney said, "But here's the thing: This was a phenomenally balanced production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which star power was equaled by depth of feeling and characterization in all the principals. And the immediacy of television, with close-ups capable of bringing us in tight on the performers' faces, gave Jesus and Mary Magdalene a complexity that often is missing from conventional productions."[21] Lorraine Ali of The Los Angeles Times also lauded the production saying, "The show was a collision of religion and theater and pop culture that could have been one holy mess. But by the grace of God, or maybe a great cast and lots and lots of expert staging, a great musical became a great TV production."[22] In a more mixed review, Maureen Ryan of Variety said, "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. 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."[23]


Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert was the most-viewed program of the night of both network and cable programming.[24] The production earned a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 in Live + Same Day.[25] Lee Seymour of Forbes said the telecast's ratings were a "step back for NBC's live musicals," explaining "while Superstar Live came out on top for the night's ratings, it still landed near the bottom of the pile, relative to almost every other live musical since NBC revamped the mini-genre in 2013." Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert was watched by 9.4 million people. Comparatively, NBC's The Sound of Music Live! was watched by 18.6 million and The Wiz Live! by 11.5 million, while Fox's Grease: Live was watched by 12.2 million. Seymour felt the special may have failed to capture a larger audience on Easter because of its blasphemous themes.[26]

An encore on April 12, 2020, was seen by 3.17 million viewers.[27]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
70th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie John Legend Nominated [28][29]
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Brandon Victor Dixon Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Sara Bareilles Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special David Leveaux & Alex Rudzinski Nominated
70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Special (Live) Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert Won [28][30]
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special Bernard Telsey & Patrick Goodwin Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Programming Paul Tazewell, Laaleh Mizani, Heather Lockard, & Rory Powers Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special Charles LaPointe & Kevin Maybee Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design / Lighting Direction for a Variety Special Al Gurdon, Travis Hagenbuch, Ben Green, Kirk J. Miller, & Eric Christian Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic) Joe Dulude II, Angela L. Johnson, Milagros Medina-Cerdeira, LaSoyna Gunter, Margie Durand, & Andrew Sotomayor Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special Jason Ardizzone-West & Melissa Shakun Won
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special Thomas Holmes, Ellen Fitton, John Harris, Brian Flanzbaum, Mark Weglinski, David Crawford, Dan Gerhard, Mike Bove, Jason Sears, & Christian Schrader Won
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Limited Series, Movie or Special Eric Becker, Emelie Scaminaci, Ka-Lai Wong, Shaun Harkins, Raymond Hoover, Jay Kulick, Ron Lehman, Tore Livia, Adam Margolis, Lyn Noland, Jimmy O'Donnell, Mark S. Renaudin, & Andrew Waruszewski Won
9th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie Made for Television Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert Won [31]
Best Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie Made for Television John Legend Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie Made for Television Brandon Victor Dixon Nominated
34th Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Live Television Performance, Variety or Sketch Comedy Bernard Telsey & Patrick Goodwin Won [32]
23rd Art Directors Guild Awards Excellence in Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Event Special Jason Ardizzone-West Nominated [33]
71st Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Limited Series David Leveaux & Alex Rudzinski Nominated [34]
61st Annual Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, Ben Daniels, Brandon Victor Dixon, Erik Grönwell, Jin Ha, John Legend, Norm Lewis & Jason Tam (principal soloists); Harvey Mason Jr. (producer) Nominated
55th Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Non-Fiction, Variety or Music Series or Specials Tom Holmes, Brian Flanzbaum, Christian Schrader, Ellen Fitton, John Harris, & Anthony Lalumia Nominated [35]
6th Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Motion Picture Made for Television or Special – Best Contemporary Hair Styling Charles Lapointe & Kevin Maybee Won [36]
21st Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Variety, Reality-Competition, Live Television Paul Tazewell Nominated [37]

Other media

Andrew Lloyd Webber: Tribute to a Superstar

On March 28, 2018, a one-hour special titled Andrew Lloyd Webber: Tribute to a Superstar premiered on NBC in honor of Lloyd Webber's 70th birthday and to promote the coming premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. In the special, Lloyd Webber was interviewed by Glenn Close, John Legend, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It also included appearances by some of the performers from Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert in various rehearsal scenes from the show.[38]

The special was executive produced and directed by Brad Lachman and written and produced by Matt Lachman. Interviews were conducted at Sardi's restaurant, Power Station recording studio, and the Renaissance Hotel Times Square. Production companies involved in the special included Brad Lachman Productions and Universal Television.[39][40]


Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
(Original Soundtrack of the NBC Television Event)
Soundtrack album by
Original Television Cast of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
ReleasedApril 6, 2018
LabelSony Masterworks

An official soundtrack was released by Sony Masterworks, digitally on April 6, 2018, and physically on April 27, 2018.[41]

Track listing

All music is composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

2."Heaven on Their Minds"4:30
3."What's The Buzz / Strange Thing Mystifying"4:22
4."Everything's Alright"4:05
5."This Jesus Must Die"3:36
7."Simon Zealotes / Poor Jerusalem"5:12
8."Pilate's Dream"1:48
9."The Temple"5:17
10."Everything's Alright (Reprise)"0:40
11."I Don't Know How to Love Him"3:40
12."Damned for All Time / Blood Money"4:33
13."The Last Supper"7:10
14."Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)"5:44
16."The Arrest"4:02
17."Peter's Denial"0:38
18."Pilate and Christ"2:58
19."King Herod's Song"3:22
20."Transition After Herod"0:39
21."Could We Start Again, Please?"2:35
22."Judas's Death"4:54
23."Trial Before Pilate (Including The 39 Lashes)"6:19
25."The Crucifixion"1:48
26."John Nineteen: Forty One"2:48
27."Curtain Call"2:34
Total length:1:35:38

Commercial performance

The album debuted at number 46 on the US Billboard 200,[42] earning 13,000 album-equivalent units in its first week according to Nielsen Music, with over 11,000 units coming from traditional album sales.[43] It also debuted at number 3 the same week on the Soundtracks chart,[44] as well as at number 14 on the Top Album Sales chart.[45]


Chart (2018) Peak
US Billboard 200[42] 46
US Billboard Top Soundtracks[44] 3
US Billboard Top Album Sales[45] 14

See also


  1. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (Original Soundtrack of the NBC Television Event) by Original Television Cast of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert on Apple Music". iTunes. April 6, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (May 10, 2017). "'Jesus Christ Superstar' Set as NBC's Next Live Musical". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 10, 2017). "NBC Will Broadcast Jesus Christ Superstar Live! - Playbill". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  4. ^ James Hibberd (May 10, 2017), "Jesus Christ Superstar is NBC's next live musical", Entertainment Weekly
  5. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (December 8, 2017). "'Jesus Christ Superstar Live!': Alice Cooper to Play King Herod; David Leveaux Directs". Deadline. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b White, Peter (December 19, 2017). "John Legend To Play Jesus In NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!'". Deadline. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (February 28, 2018). "Music and Audience Take Center Stage in NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert'". Variety. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2018). "'Jesus Christ Superstar': Sara Bareilles To Play Mary Magdalene In NBC Live Staging". Deadline. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Clement, Olivia (February 22, 2018). "Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon to Star as Judas In NBC's Live Jesus Christ Superstar | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Boedeker, Hal (February 2, 2018). "'Jesus Christ Superstar': Norm Lewis to play Caiaphas". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  11. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (February 22, 2018). "'Hamilton' Star Brandon Victor Dixon To Star As Judas In NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar'". Deadline. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Dawn, Randee (March 28, 2018). "NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live' Blends the Crafts". Variety. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "Flip Through Our Exclusive Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert Playbill | Playbill". Playbill. March 30, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "Credits | NBCUniversal Media Village". NBCUniversal Media Village. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  15. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (March 29, 2018). "Can Jesus Christ Superstar Live Capture the Holy Grail?". Variety. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Brandt, Robert (April 3, 2018). "Drummer Jamey Tate Talks Jesus Christ Superstar Live". Prologix Percussion Blog. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Hayes, Dade (January 8, 2018). "NBC Promo For 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Primes Viewers For Easter Music Miracle". Deadline. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  20. ^ Murray, Noel (April 2, 2018). "Review: In 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' an Old Story for (Yet Another) New Millennium". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  21. ^ Rooney, David (April 1, 2018). "'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Ali, Lorraine (April 2, 2018). "NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live' shouldn't have worked. Here's why it did". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  23. ^ Ryan, Maureen (April 1, 2018). "TV Review: 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert' on NBC". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  24. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (April 3, 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 4.1.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (April 2, 2018). "'Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert' Tops 'American Idol' & 'The Passion' To Lead Easter Sunday Ratings – Update". Deadline. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  26. ^ RSeymore, Lee (December 12, 2019). "Why 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Is Yet Another Step Back For NBC's Live Musicals". Forbes. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  27. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2020-04-13). "'American Idol' Tops Ratings On Quiet Easter Sunday; 'The Rookie' Ticks Down". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  28. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (July 12, 2018). "Emmy Nominations: 'Game Of Thrones' Tops Noms, With Netflix & HBO Leading Way". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "Emmys: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. September 17, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  30. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (September 9, 2018). "Anthony Bourdain, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Saturday Night Live' Win Big on Night 2 of Creative Arts Emmy Awards". Variety. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  31. ^ Crist, Allison (January 13, 2019). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Roma,' 'Americans,' 'Mrs. Maisel' Top Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  32. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (January 31, 2019). "Casting Society of America's Artios Awards: 'Green Book,' 'Vice' Among Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  33. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 2, 2019). "Art Directors Guild Awards: 'Favourite,' 'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians' Among Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  34. ^ Handel, Jonathan (February 2, 2019). "'Roma's' Alfonso Cuaron Takes Top Honor at DGA Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  35. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 8, 2019). "CAS Awards: 'Black Panther', 'A Star Is Born' & 'Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Nominees". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  36. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 10, 2019). "Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Applies Its Awards Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  37. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 10, 2019). "CDGA Nominations: 'Crazy Rich Asians', 'Black Panther' Among Pics Fitted For Costume Designers' List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  38. ^ Fujishima, Kenji (March 28, 2018). "NBC to Air Andrew Lloyd Webber Tribute to a Superstar". TheatreMania. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  39. ^ "Watch Now! NBC Honors Andrew Lloyd Webber With 'Tribute to a Superstar'". Broadway World. March 29, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  40. ^ Nassour, Elliot (March 26, 2018). "Andrew Lloyd Webber – theaterlife". Theater Life. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  41. ^ Gans, Andrew (March 20, 2018). "Masterworks Broadway Will Release Recording of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  42. ^ a b "Top 200 Albums | Billboard 200 chart". Billboard. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
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