Brandon Victor Dixon Talks NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!Posted by Sidnee Michelle
March 28, 2018
Airing on Easter Sunday, April 1, will be Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, with Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winner John Legend cast in the title role. The musical will be performed in front of a live audience at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live” is based on the 1971 Broadway musical revolving around the last week of Jesus’ life.
The all-star cast features Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winner John Legend (Jesus), Sara Bareilles (Mary Magdalene), Brandon Victor Dixon (Judas), and Alice Cooper (King Herod). Featured in the ensemble are Tony nominee Ben Daniels (Les Liaisons Dangereuses) as Pontius Pilate, Tony nominee Norm Lewis (Once on This Island) as Caiaphas, Jason Tam (If/Then) as Peter, Jin Ha (M. Butterfly) as Annas, and Swedish rock star Erik Gronwall as Simon Zealotes.
The creative team features Emmy Award-winning live television director and executive producer Alex Rudzinski (Hairspray Live!), Emmy- and Tony-winning costumer designer Paul Tazewell (Hamilton), Grammy-winning 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).
While he’s currently on TV playing Terry the attorney on Starz’s Power, Brandon Victor Dixon is well known in the theater community. Some of his bigger roles included Harpo in The Color Purple (2005), for which he was nominated for a Tony Award, Berry Gordy Jr. in Motown: The Musical (2013), and Eubie Blake on Broadway in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (2016), for which he was nominated for another Tony.
While talking to the press recently to promote the musical, Brandon Victor Dixon talked about playing Judas.
What excites you about your character?
Brandon Victor Dixon: What excites me about this is we have these very broad labels about who these figures were. I think what this show does is kind of digs in to look at the humanities. For me, Judas, he was one of His greatest disciples and great prevayers of his teachings. But as the the message started to become distorted, Judas was simply saying “Whoa, whoa! This is not what we talked about. We have to retain the message. The second you make the message about the man you’ve lost. Then it’s just about what would Jesus do? No! what are you going to do?”
All Judas is saying is that it’s about the message and if you make it about him you are not ingesting the message, you’re not sending the message, you’re not seeing how the message resonates between you and me you’re just focused on looking up – I need you to look across. That’s what Judas is saying.
It’s the same thing Jesus is trying to do and in the end they make different decisions about how to do that. One of the conflicts in this interpretation specifically is Judas is always like but wait if everything is Gods plan so I have to do this? You’re telling me you condemned me to this state? It’s those kind of battles that Judas has. And from that standpoint when you look at Judas even if you think he’s a bad guy- you’re like they made him do these things!
Judas had a choice in the matter no?
Brandon Victor Dixon: No, because this is what Jesus wanted him to do – this is what God needed him to do. It breaks him because he betrays the person that he loves and he sees what it’s going to cost. But in this show he comes back very quickly in a plunge neck jumpsuit and gets to sing a great song
How is it working with John Legend?
Brandon Victor Dixon: We’re having a really good time. Really right now we’re just trying to get it down. He is doing his own thing so it’s really cool to see him throw his energy into what is the most collaborative medium on the face of the planet which is making a musical come to life – that’s been really great. Jesus works really well for him – he has those R & B eyes.
Do you see any parallels between Judas and your character on Power? How do your characters end up on the right side of history?
Brandon Victor Dixon: I actually think Judas is a better dude than Terry. That’s all about perspective. My (characters) goal is to tell you the truth of the story – hopefully you will see the humanity of this individual and you will see what he was trying to do – Keep everyone on the right path. He made decisions to do that & that was what his goal was. At the end hopefully everyone will be like – alright Judas (you’re not so bad)