She joins previously announced cast members John Legend, who will play Jesus, and Alice Cooper, who will play King Herod. The show is set to air on April 1, which is Easter Sunday.
“We’re overjoyed to have Sara Bareilles play Mary Magdalene and I can guarantee that her interpretation of the standard ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ will become an instant classic,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “I was lucky enough to see Sara in ‘Waitress’ and she gave as moving and as beautifully sung a performance as I’ve seen on a Broadway stage in a long time.”
Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics for the current Broadway musical “Waitress.” She was nominated for a 2016 Tony Award for Best Original Score as well as earning a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album.
A six-time Grammy nominee, she has sold more than nine million singles/downloads and one million albums. She has released five studio albums, with 2010’s “Kaleidoscope Heart” reaching number on the Billboard charts. Her next album, “The Blessed Unrest,” rose to number two.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Alex Rudzinski. It will be produced by Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions, and Zadan/Meron Productions.
The production will be the latest in a string of live broadcast musicals in recent years, which began when NBC hit ratings paydirt in 2013 with a live staging of “The Sound of Music.” Since then, NBC has aired musicals including “Hairspray Live,” “Peter Pan Live,” and “The Wiz Live.”