Back in 2013, NBC aired The Sound of Music Live, a live TV adaptation of the Broadway production. The musical was watched by a whopping 18.62 million people and this success gave way to an annual tradition of live musical performances including Peter Pan (2014), The Wiz (2015) and Hairspray (2016).
By the end of 2017, the network was set to air this year’s production Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez but those plans have been postponed and possibly replaced by another hit musical.
On May 29 during the “upfront” presentations, NBC announced that they’ve teamed up with the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, as well as producers Marc Platt , Zadan and Meron for their next big live musical – Jesus Christ Superstar!
The cast has yet to be determined but if the previous musicals were of any indication, expect some big names to take on the lead roles.
“Casting has just begun, but we want to fill out this classic show with as many recording artists as possible to give proper voice to what is the original rock opera score,” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said.
Written by Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar! is a 1971 Broadway rock opera musical that chronicles the final week of Jesus’ life leading up to his crucifixion. The musical features other Biblical figures including Judas, Mary Magdalene, Pontius Pilates and King Herod.
Since it’s debut the musical has won lots of awards including the coveted Tony. It has been successfully revived many times and has been performed in 20 countries and translated into 18 different languages. However, success wasn’t achieved without controversy.
Find out why the religious musical offended some people and when NBC plans to air it on the next page.
Despite all of the stage show’s success, Jesus Christ Superstar! has been a subject of controversy and its productions have been condemned by a few religious groups.
Some Catholic and Protestant groups accuse the musical for being blasphemous. They denounce the sympathetic manner in which Judas is depicted on stage and his offensive criticisms of Jesus.
The Broadway show was also deemed anti-semetic by Jewish groups who felt the musical blames Jesus’ death since the villans, Caiaphas and Herod were Jewish.
Regardless of the possible religious propaganda embedded in the musical, NBC is excited to expand their profile and revive this iconic show for the network’s fans next Easter.
Will you be tuning in? Let us know in the comments!