Since being announced as the lead of NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert in December, John Legend has immersed himself in the role of Jesus.
“He comes prepared,” the rock opera’s musical producer Harvey Mason Jr., 49, tells PEOPLE. “He’s doing a lot of different things right now, but he’s focused completely on this show. He knows the show inside and out and I’m really impressed with how diligently he’s working on stage with the cast and the director. It’s a lot of hours, but he’s dedicated.”
Because of Legend’s dedication to his craft, Mason Jr. considers the 10-time Grammy winner, 39, more than a musician. “He’s really a stylist in the way he sings,” Mason Jr. says. “That’s what makes this a special show and I think what’ll make his performance of Jesus special.”
He thinks the diversity of the cast, which includes Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene and Alice Cooper as King Herod, will also make Sunday’s performance unique.
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“One thing we’re really proud of is the way that the cast is such a diverse group of people playing all different parts from different genres of music, different religious backgrounds and racial backgrounds,” continues Mason Jr., who worked on The Wiz Live! in 2015. “On the night that John or Sara puts their heart and soul into one of the performances, you appreciate it, you love it for what it is. You know it came directly from the artist’s soul.”
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Even Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer behind the music of the 1970 original, has been by the New York City set during rehearsals and offered his approval.
“He’s very excited,” Golden Globe and Grammy nominee Mason Jr. says. “He’s been really, really into things that I’ve been bringing to the table and he’s been on set quite a bit. He’s very involved and it’s great.”
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert airs Easter Sunday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.