The 2018 Creative Art Emmys was a momentous occasion, but for no one more than singer John Legend, who broke records and made history with his Emmy. The Emmy was for the live televised performance of Jesus Christ Superstar! that aired on Easter of this year. Legend starred as Jesus, alongside other famed performers, such as Sara Bareilles and Alice Cooper. It was part of a series of musicals that NBC has been televising live over the last several years.
NBC’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar was one of the best-received musicals from their series of live showcasts.
“But here’s the thing: This was a phenomenally balanced production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which star power was equaled by depth of feeling and characterization in all the principals,” said The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney. “And the immediacy of television, with close-ups capable of bringing us in tight on the performers’ faces, gave Jesus and Mary Magdalene a complexity that often is missing from conventional productions.”
Legend, Tim Rice (the lyricist for Jesus Christ Superstar!), and Andrew Lloyd Webber (the composer for Jesus Christ Superstar!) each won the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) award for their work as producers on this live production.
This win thrust all three into the pantheon of EGOT winners. EGOT winners are those who have made the achievement of receiving an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. Only 15 people, including Legend, Rice, and Webber, have ever received all four awards.
However, Legend made incredible history by breaking several EGOT records as he accepted his award. He was the first black male to receive an EGOT. Whoopi Goldberg had the distinction of being the first black artist to have achieved the EGOT back in 2002. He has also now become the second youngest person to have ever achieved an EGOT, having received it at the age of 39. He won all four awards in a span of only 12 years.
Next week, Legend could stand to win another Emmy for his performance as Jesus in the production, which was nominated. The show was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.
Legend’s other awards that contributed to his EGOT achievement are multiple Grammy’s, an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Glory,” from the movie Selma, and a Tony in the Best Revival of a Play category for his role as a co-producer of Jitney in 2017.