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John Legend, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber became EGOT winners through their roles as exec producers of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, which won outstanding live variety special at the Creative Arts Emmys. They become the 13th, 14th and 15th individuals to score an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — the EGOT.
Also with the NBC live musical’s award, Craig Zadan, who died last month, earned a posthumous first Emmy. Zadan, producer of the Oscars and the Oscar-winning film Chicago, died Aug. 20 at age 69.
Fellow exec producers Marc Platt, Neil Meron, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, Alex Rudzinski and co-exec producer Javier Winnik also received Emmys for the category win.
The room erupted in applause, with the audience giving a standing ovation to the group following the announcement of their win.
Following a tribute to Zadan, Webber thanked NBC for the production. “It is wonderful that Jesus Christ Superstar should be presented by NBC in exactly the way that Tim and I hoped it would be 48 years ago,” he said.
“Obviously I’d like to thank everybody involved with this production, which can be a difficult show to do,” said Rice. “I think I’d like to thank America because America bought the album in prodigious quantities back in 1970 and nobody in our home country did.” He continued, “It was because of that record going so well in the United States that the show conquered the world. I’m amazed that it stuck around 48 years later. I’m amazed I’m still around 48 years later.”
Rice then reflected on his partnership with Lloyd Webber. “We’ve been together for a long time and the ups and downs, but it’s great to be here,” he said.
“I want to thank Andrew and Tim for believing in us and for allowing us to perform their beautiful material. I want to thank my wife. She came down between tapings of our show to see if we could do this, and I’m so happy I did not make her waste her trip downtown from Burbank,” joked Legend about wife Chrissy Teigen.
Legend then thanked the entire team behind Jesus Christ Superstar. “We put so much love into this performance. Even Jesus and Judas, a lot of their interaction was based on love, even there was some betrayal, even though there was some disappointment, and we put so much love into this and I’m so happy that we were able to do this and that you all love it so much and honored our show.”
Webber said backstage that it felt “fantastic” to become an EGOT winner. “I have to say, I was sitting through this this afternoon thinking, ‘What could I possibly win [next year] if we don’t win. Like, outstanding hairdresser?'” he joked. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic Craig Zadan. It’s probably a little known fact that Craig Zadan is the only person who’s ever directed myself and Tim onstage.”
“We were very happy that, in a way, Craig’s career was bookended by doing something with us when none of us were that well known and then doing this, which was very successful,” added Rice.
On the topic of achieving EGOT, Rice said, “I’m not quite sure what it feels like. It’s nice. It’s better than not.”
“When I got into the music business, it was a dream of mine to win Grammys and have plenty of success as a musician, to sell lots of records and tour around the world as a performer, but I never had a dream of winning EGOT. I didn’t even know what that was at the time,” said Legend. “I think the projects that we’ve done to get the EGOT have really been huge, collaborative efforts.”
“Tonight it’s about Jesus Christ Superstar and the reason why we won tonight is because first of all, Andrew and Tim created some beautiful work and we had the privilege of performing that on television and we thank Bob Greenblatt from NBC and the whole team for believing in and doing live musicals on television and the idea of really believing in this powerful medium of live music and live performance to bring the country together, to talk about something on television,” said Legend. “They believe in putting together diverse casts, a black Jesus. They believe that all this could work and that we could execute this as a team together and what a team it was.”
Legend has won 10 Grammy Awards throughout his career, including one for best new artist in 2006. He has won best male R&B vocal performance three times, best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals twice, best R&B album twice, best R&B song and best song written for visual media. Legend won an Oscar with Common in 2015 in the best original song category for “Glory,” which was featured in the film Selma. He also won a Tony in 2017 in the best revival of a play category, as a co-producer for Jitney.
Rice has won three Oscars, which were all in the best original song category, awarded for “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King and “You Must Love Me” from the film adaptation of Evita, which he shared with Lloyd Webber. The lyricist won three Grammys in 1994 in the best musical album for children, song of the year and best song written specifically for a motion picture or for television categories, all for his work on the Aladdin soundtrack and for the song “A Whole New World.” Rice also has won three Tony Awards, including best book of a musical and original score in 1980 for his work for Evita, and original score in 2000 for Aida.
Lloyd Webber has won seven Tonys including two in 1983; one for best original score and one for best musical for Cats. In 1995, he won in the same categories for Sunset Boulevard. Webber won best original score for his work on Evita in 1980. The composer also won best musical in 1988 for The Phantom of the Opera. Additionally, Webber won the Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2018. The composer has won three Grammy Awards — the first was in 1986 for Requiem in the best contemporary composition category, and he won the Grammy Legend Award in 1990. Webber won an Oscar in 1996 the aforementioned “You Must Love Me” from Evita.
Legend, who starred in Jesus Christ Superstar, is additionally Emmy-nominated for lead actor in a limited series or movie.
The category was the final award to be handed out on Sunday night.
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