Legend, a 10-time Grammy winner, will portray the religious leader in the musical version of the last week of his life. The singer is "thrilled" to join the production, which also features Alice Cooper and is executive produced by creators Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.
"I'm thrilled to join the cast of this production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!," Legend said in a release. "It's such a powerful, meaningful musical and I'm humbled to be part of this performance. We've already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I'm certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice."
Legend's casting has excited the minds behind the project. NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Rice and Lloyd Webber have already weighed in with their approval of the cast addition.
"We're all overjoyed to have world-class musical artist and producer John Legend starring as Jesus," Greenblatt said. "This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn't anyone better to bring this story to a new audience. His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way."
"John Legend is a superstar," Rice said. "As a performer, his voice is infectious and effortless. As an actor, he is believable and honest. I'm thrilled he will be able to share his portrayal of Jesus with the world."
Lloyd Webber expressed his approval on Twitter, and Legend seemed in awe of the composing legend.
"Just woke up to Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeting about me," Legend wrote. "It's a good day."
Just woke up to Andrew LLoyd Webber tweeting about me. It’s a good day. https://t.co/QfIivg1N8k— John Legend (@johnlegend) December 19, 2017
The production will air live April 1, which is Easter Sunday.
Legend and Cooper are the only announced cast members so far. Cooper will play King Herod in the show.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! will follow in the footsteps of previous live NBC productions The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live!.