×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

11 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert’

Not everyone watched NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live” on TV: More than 1,300 people made up the live audience that cheered on the show from the bleachers. Here’s what the telecast, which starred John Legend, Brandon Victor Dixon, and Sara Bareilles, was like from inside the event space.

1. Audiences were bused to the venue from a separate location.
Ticketholders were asked to convene more than two hours prior to showtime at the 1 Hotel in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. Drinks and nibbles were served in the chic waterfront space before the crowd traveled by bus to the venue.

2. The show was broadcast live from an armory in Brooklyn.
NBC telecast the show from the Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg, right at the junction of hipster Brooklyn and Hasidic Brooklyn — which made for an amusing juxtaposition for an audience arriving for a performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Easter.

3. Marc Platt was the audience’s warm-up  guy.
Platt, the superproducer of film (“La La Land”) and Broadway (“Wicked”) who was also one of the producers of the show, greeted the crowd just before the telecast and encouraged them to get into it. “If you’re moved to dance or stand up, please do so,” he told them. “You are part of the experience tonight.”

4. The mosh pit got tutored.
Also before the show, the front-row mosh pit got a little coaching on waving their hands in their air. It paid off in “Hosanna,” the song that had everyone waving their arms in unison.

5. The live crowd couldn’t understand all of the lyrics, either.
Viewers at home had a lot of complaints about the sound mix. It was also tough in the room, where audience members could always tell that the talented cast could sing — but half the time they couldn’t quite make out what anyone was saying.

6. The crew kept a close eye on that sand.
The stretches of sand along the edges of the stage needed constant maintenance. During commercial breaks, crew members with brooms swept stray grains back into place, and another one carrying a sprayer and what looked like a tank of water misted the sand to help keep it in place.

7. The bleachers always looked filled — even when they weren’t.
Audience members were encouraged to sprawl, manspread, or otherwise take up two seats when a neighbor took a bathroom break. That way, the crowd always looked packed.

8. No one likes to clean up glitter.
Jesus’ scene with the money-changers in “The Temple” left a lot of glitter on the floor. There was no TV magic to cleaning it up: Just a lot of crew members with brooms and giant dustpans, sweeping as fast as they could.

9. The show brought the audience to its feet three times.
The first spontaneous standing ovation came for Legend’s performance of “Gethsemane.” The next one came for Alice Cooper’s “King Herod’s Song” — and then there was “Superstar,” the full-cast number led by Brandon Victor Dixon, that had everyone on their feet before it was over.

10. Most people didn’t see Judas die.
Dixon, playing Judas, seemed to have a very dramatic death scene. The live audience wouldn’t know, because that sequence culminated on the back side of the set.

11. When it was all over, it was time to celebrate
After the curtain call, producers, crew and cast members congratulated each other onstage. Dixon, for instance, gave producer Neil Meron a big hug — and then, of course, they took a selfie together.

More Legit

  • Hamilton West End Production.

    'Hamilton' Panic Over Mistaken Reports of Gunfire Injures Three in San Francisco

    Three people were injured after mistaken reports of an active shooter at a San Francisco production of “Hamilton” caused attendees to flee the theater. CNN reported that a woman experienced a medical emergency — later determined to be a heart attack — during a scene in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play wherein Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is shot on [...]

  • The American Clock review

    London Theater Review: 'The American Clock'

    Time is money. Money is time. Both come unstuck in “The American Clock.” Arthur Miller’s kaleidoscopic account of the Great Depression, part autobiography, part social history, crawls through the decade after the Wall Street crash, dishing up snapshots of daily life. In the Old Vic’s classy revival, director Rachel Chavkin (“Hadestown”) tunes into the play’s [...]

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Off Broadway Review: Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Sea Wall/A Life'

    Comfy? Okay, let’s talk Death: sudden death, painful death, lingering death, accidental death, and whatever other kinds of death happen to come into the receptive minds of playwrights Simon Stephens (“Sea Wall”) and Nick Payne (“A Life”). The writing in these separate monologues — playing together on a double bill at the Public Theater — [...]

  • Michael Jackson Estate Cancels Musical Test-Run

    Michael Jackson Estate Cancels Musical Test-Run

    With an HBO documentary that places strong allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson premiering in two weeks, the late singer’s estate announced Thursday that it’s canceling a scheduled Chicago test run of a jukebox musical about him. The estate and its producing partner in the musical, Columbia Live Stage, said that they’re setting their sights on going [...]

  • All About Eve review

    West End Review: Gillian Anderson and Lily James in 'All About Eve'

    To adapt a crass old adage: it’s “All About Eve,” not “All About Steve.” Stripping Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s sharp-witted screenplay about a waning theater star of its period trappings, Ivo van Hove’s stage adaptation fine-tunes its feminism for our own sexist age — image-obsessed, anti-aging, the time of Time’s Up. Rather than blaming Lily James’ [...]

  • Adam Shankman

    Listen: Why Adam Shankman Directs Every Movie Like It's a Musical

    Director Adam Shankman’s latest movie, the Taraji P. Henson comedy “What Men Want,” isn’t a musical. But as one of Hollywood’s top director-choreographers of musicals and musical sequences, he approaches even non-musicals with a sense of tempo. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “When I read a script, it processes in my head like a [...]

  • Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella' Review

    L.A. Theater Review: Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella'

    How much can you change “Cinderella” before it is no longer “Cinderella”? In the case of choreography maestro Matthew Bourne — who, it should be said, first unveiled his spin on the classic folk tale some 22 years ago — the music is most certainly “Cinderella” (Prokofiev’s 1945 score, to be exact), but the plot [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content