Alice Cooper is known as The King of Shock Rock, but now some fans are shocked by his latest role. The legendary rock singer has been cast in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live! Cooper will play King Herod, the ruler of Judea, in NBC’s Easter Sunday production of the famous musical, according to Entertainment Weekly.
In a statement about Cooper’s casting news, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt revealed that Broadway masterminds Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote “a show-stopping musical number for Herod” for the network’s version of the story that has long been considered to be the original rock musical. Jesus Christ Superstar made its stage debut in 1971 and is based on the final week of Jesus’ life.
While at first glance it seems unusual for the “Welcome to my Nightmare” singer to be cast in an NBC live musical, Alice Cooper is known for his theatrical presence on stage. In addition, Cooper previously recorded “King Herod’s Song (Try it and See)” for the Jesus Christ Superstar cast album back in 1996. Alice was not part of the original 1996 London stage cast, but he was brought in to sing the song.
Twenty years later, Alice Cooper will give fans the full picture as he performs the song from the musical live on network television. You can listen to Alice Cooper’s 1996 “King Herod’s Song” recording below.
While Alice Cooper is best known for his music career (the Grammy Award-nominated singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011), he also has a bit of an acting resume under his belt. Cooper made a cameo in the movie Wayne’s World and has appeared on TV shows like Monk and That ’70s Show. Alice famously played Marvin Sunk, the Sun King in the 1978 movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Cooper is also an avid golfer and a devout Christian.
Alice Cooper is not the first big rock name to be cast in the role of King Herod. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, in 2014 former Sex Pistols singer Johnny “Rotten” Lydon signed on to play King Herod in a planned production of Jesus Christ Superstar that was to tour arenas across North America, but the show was canceled less than two weeks before the first performance.
NBC’s live production of Jesus Christ Superstar is part of a long list of iconic stage titles that have been brought to network TV in recent years, including The Sound of Music, The Wiz, Peter Pan, Grease, and Hairspray.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live! premieres on April 1, 2018, on NBC.