8:45am PT by Bryn Sandberg
'Hamilton' Star Cast as Judas in NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live'
NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar live musical has found its Judas.
Hamilton vet and two-time Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon will take on the role. He joins previously announced castmembers John Legend (playing Jesus Christ), Sara Bareilles (Mary Magdalene) and Alice Cooper (King Herod). The production will be helmed by British theater director David Leveaux and is set to air on Easter Sunday, April 1, from the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
As Judas, Dixon will play an apostle of Jesus who has concerns about the consequences of Jesus' popularity. In addition to Dixon, Tony nominee Ben Daniels has been cast as Pontius Pilate; Tony nominee Norm Lewis as Caiaphas; Broadway veteran Jason Tam as Peter; M. Butterfly star Jin Ha as Annas; and Swedish rocker Erik Gronwall as Simon Zealotes.
Dixon is known to many Broadway theatergoers as Aaron Burr from the musical sensation Hamilton. The actor played Burr for nearly a year at the Richard Rodgers Theatre before moving on to Shuffle Along. In 2006, Dixon was Tony-nominated for best featured actor in a musical for his role as Harpo in The Color Purple, and again 10 years later for his role as Eubie Blake in Shuffle Along. On the TV side, the actor currently co-stars on the Starz series Power as Terry Silver and previously appeared on The Good Wife.
Rounding out the Superstar creative team is live television director and executive producer Alex Rudzinski (Hairspray Live!), costume designer Paul Tazewell (The Wiz Live!), music producer Harvey Mason Jr. (The Wiz Live!), musical director Nigel Wright (Jesus Christ Superstar world arena tour), production designer Jason Ardizzone-West (Adele Live in NYC) and choreographer Camille A. Brown (Once on This Island).
As Pontius Pilate, Daniels will play the governor of Judea who has a dream about the gruesome way Jesus will be killed. Daniels was nominated for a Tony in 2008 for best actor in a play for his role as Le Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liasons Dangereuses. In 2016, he co-starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Daniels' TV credits, meanwhile, include The Exorcist and House of Cards.
Lewis will play Caiaphas, a high priest who sees Jesus as a threat to the nation. He was nominated for a Tony in 2012 for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, and is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Once on This Island. His other Broadway credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Les Miserables. On the small screen, Lewis has appeared on The Blacklist, Gotham, Chicago Med and Scandal.
As Peter, Tam will portray one of the apostles who saves himself the night Jesus is arrested. The actor has worked steadily on Broadway and his credits include Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, Lysistrata Jones and If/Then. His TV appearances include The Blacklist, Hawaii Five-0 and Do No Harm.
Ha will play Annas, a priest who aligned with Caiaphas and also saw Jesus as a threat. The actor made his Broadway debut as Song Liling in the 2017 revival of M. Butterfly at the Cort Theatre.
Lastly, Gronwall will play apostle Simon Zealotes, who believes Jesus should lead his followers into battle against the Romans. Gronwall rose to fame in 2009 by winning the Swedish version of American Idol. He released his first single, "Higher," a few weeks after winning the competition and the song immediately shot to No. 1 on the charts. Gronwall currently is the lead singer of the band H.E.A.T., which tours worldwide.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert will be produced by Universal Television, The Really Useful Group, Marc Platt Productions and Zadan/Meron Productions. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Marc Platt, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will executive produce.