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Wednesday
May102017

Jesus Christ, It's time to play "Cast This!" again

By Nathaniel R

Paul Nolan as Jesus in the most recent Broadway revival (2012)This just in: NBC is prepping its sixth live musical for April 2018. Their first Sound of Music was a mixed bag quality-wise but a giant ratings hit. Since then they've had two critical and ratings successes (The Wiz and Hairspray) and one failure (Peter Pan). [Update: the fifth is Bye Bye Birdie starring Jennifer Lopez will air during the holidays later this year.]  The sixth, after that, will be Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. It's made frequent regular appearances on stages all over the world since its debut in 1970. It even had a Golden Globe nominated film version in 1973 directed by Norman Jewison who was, at the time, a very hot commodity having recently made three best picture players: The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! (1966, not a sci-fi time travelling movie about the current US government), In the Heat of the Night (1967) and the Best Picture nominee Fiddler on the Roof (1971).

No casting has been announced but they're said to be seeking "authentic recording artists." What does that even mean...?

Does that just mean actual rock or pop stars? What is an inauthentic recording artist?  Does it mean Middle Eastern recording artists to play the Middle Eastern characters? We have so many questions. Our guess is that they go with color blind casting like the '73 film which starred a white guy, a black guy, and an Asian girl

Carl Anderson (Judas), Ted Neeley (Jesus), and Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene) -- all Golden Globe nominated -- on the set of the 1973 film version

 

Which "authentic" recording artists could you see as Jesus and Judas?

And, more importantly, who would you cast as Mary Magdalene who gets the show's very best song "I Don't Know How to Love Him"

 

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Reader Comments (23)

I'm crushing on Brandon Flynn but I don't know if he can sing.
Otherwise, Darren Criss and Selena Gomez.
G

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterG.ShaQ

Lets' have a black gay guy play Jesus!

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I want a black Jesus too!

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Jaragon - Which gay black actors do you suggest?

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

Helen Reddy's first radio hit was I Don't Know How To Love Him. It reached 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Whatever happened to Bye Bye Birdie?

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterConnor Olen

Please not Adam Lambert.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

John Legend as Jesus! Maybe Daveed Diggs as Judas. And Cee-lo Green as Pontius Pilate.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs

For Mary, have Sia do voiceover while one of her stand-ins does modern dance. Obviously.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Bye bye Birdie will actually be the fifth in December. This production will be the sixth.

Did anyone watch Patti Lupone last night on Watch What Happens Live where she trashed Madonna, the Les Miserables movie and also the NBC musicals because she said no one knows how to film them except the Crazy Ex Girlfriend show?

I assume she won't be in Birdie or Superstar.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I would love to see John Legend as Judas, it's the better role and would sound great in his voice. Also John Gallagher Jr. as Jesus and Christina Aguilera as Mary Magdalene.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterv.

Connor & James -- THANKS. my bad. Post updated. I forgot about bye bye birdie.

May 10, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I kind of want to see Elijah Kelly tackle Jesus. That's the hardest role in the musical, all of you seem to be forgetting that he has to hit those insane notes in Gethsemane.

Maye Laura Osnes as Mary? Judas is tough too, but if we want to go middle eastern then maybe Ramin Karimloo?

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTerence

let's hope for, at least, one actor from the middle east

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Terence, I'm on board with Elijah... inspired. And Ramin? Great. That's one sexy New Testament. Praise Jesus!

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'd like someone from the area (Israel/Palestine) to actually play Jesus. Can we have a racially conscious, believable Jesus? Not a black one, neither a full white one? He has to be jewish... I think we owe ourselves one, by 2017.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Most Semites and Arabs are white, people. Most middle easterns are white. Heck, the Aryan people are of Persian origin (nowadays Iran, where you can easily find blondes and green eyed gingers walking around). If you HAVE TO make everything about race/ethnicity, at least get it together. Use the term "caucasian" instead of white (Semites and Arabs are non-caucasian whites).

I'm fine with whomever they cast, so long as they can sing and act. My favorite Fantine and Eponine are both Lea Salonga, and, as far as I know, nothing French in her ancestry.

All that said, I like the idea of a black gay Jesus, because I'm thinking of Jussie Smollett in the role. He'd do a great job.

For Mary Magdalene, Naya Rivera would be an interesting choice.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Lady Gaga as Mary Magdalene, Madonna as Mary

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Chris Pine as Jesus.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Well, if you want someone from the area, how about Ivri Lider. He's from Israel, he's gay, and he can sing.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Oh dear god, please not Christina Aguilera as Mary. She would butcher that song so hard with all her overboard melisma. Beyonce maybe would, too, but I'd trust her just a touch more not to indulge too much. Same with Gaga.

I wonder if they'd be willing and able to get Adele? Would she even want to? Could she act it? Not saying she's a good choice, but you know her name will get floated around.

May 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Biggs -- Ceelo Green as Pontius pilate? BRILLIANT.

May 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@Biggs.....that is perfection.

May 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGian

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