John Legend will be costumed in designer outfits when he plays Jesus Christ in a new show.
The All of Me hitmaker is portraying the religious leader in NBC’s upcoming live production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the iconic rock opera featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics from Tim Rice.
Tony Award-winning costume designer Paul Tazewell was tasked with bringing Christ and his disciples up to date when it came to their clothes, with John rocking Balmain jeans and sneakers from luxury Italian label A Diciannoveventitre.
“The idea was to make it feel as modern as possible,” Paul told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s an iconic story, and it was important to make it resonate for viewers today not to have everyone in biblical robes.”
Instead, they’ll be wearing “the kind of clothes you see people wearing riding on the L Train (subway)”, though John’s urban Bedouin-looking coat will give a nod to the biblical story.
“We wanted him to feel cool and charismatic, which Jesus was in real life, and people were drawn to him partially because of his look,” he continued.
Mary Magdalene, played by Sara Bareilles, is going to be outfitted in a simple saffron-toned ombre dress, which represents “the flame, the energy of life and the hearth”, while Brandon Victor Dixon’s Judas will rock leather jeans and Alice Cooper’s King Herod will be in a flamboyant suit.
“We did some digital printing of classical paintings on his suit, and it’s a suit you could see Alice Cooper wearing as himself. He’s backed up by five showgirls that are tawdry but so fun,” Paul smiled.
NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert will air on Easter Sunday (01Apr18) from the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.