'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert': Preview the Set, Music, Costumes & More
The weeks of preparation and rehearsal are swiftly moving along for the cast and crew of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. NBC's live adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's classic rock opera airs Easter Sunday and promises to blow all other live TV musicals out of the water.
On Tuesday in New York City, the creative team behind the ambitious project revealed some major news about the large-scale production. They detailed everything from costume and set design to music, band choices, and choreography. Plus, we learned how the live audience of over 1,500 people will play a major role in the show.
It seems like quite the undertaking, and we can't wait to see the cast—John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, and Brandon Victor Dixon—take the stage on April 1.
Here's what TV Insider has learned about Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert so far:
Director David Leveaux explained how there will be 32 people in the live band playing instruments such as electric guitars. Plus, they'll have a full string quartet onstage.
Live television director and executive producer Alex Rudzinki added that part of the experience is "band being front and center of the performance space" and "being able to stage narrative" right in front of those musicians. His goal? To make the band "feel like the beating heart of the show."
Production designer Jason Ardizzone-West, described the set is an "installation" with a mix of fresco and scaffolding. The concert will take place in Brooklyn warehouse the Marcy Armory—how very hipster.
Ardizzone-West called the Armory a "raw" and "beautiful, decrepit space," and he very much plans on maintaining the "rock opera" atmosphere. He was inspired by elements of architecture, scenery, live event and concert.
The set is reminiscent of a "formerly sacred chapel that's been ruined by time, war, and human destruction, then brought to Brooklyn in 2018 and pieced together just for this one night only."
Broadway choreographer Camille A. Brown is working on the show's movement. She plans on "generating material from the actors and their gestural language." Her approach is not so much dance, but a "movement language." Brown discussed how she's using social dance, while also doing a tribute to '90s hip-hop. Her influences for the show include everything from the Charleston to hip-hop, jazz, rock 'n' roll, and funk.
Executive producer Neil Meron explained how they'll be casting the mosh-pit audience to a certain extent, because they will actually be on-camera. The people in the front will also be given some specific movement to follow characters onstage.
Leveaux added that the mosh pit sections will have a leader who will be directing the movement; for example, letting the audience know if they should be standing, sitting or reaching their arms out.
Tony-award winning Hamilton costume designer Paul Tazewell is at the helm of this event's costume-design process. He wants the individual performers to blend with their characters organically.
He revealed that Superstar's clothing is "reflective of rock 'n' roll," and that the audience featured on-camera will be dressed in similar silhouettes.
"The clothing is acknowledging the fact that it's a rock 'n' roll concert, the fact that it's modern and today as we tell the story of the last days of Jesus," said Tazewell.
You can check out artists' renderings of Superstar's stunning costumes, as well as some pictures from the set, by clicking through the gallery above.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Easter Sunday, April 1, NBC