On Sunday night, Alice Cooper will take part in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, NBC's live production of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical. The shock rocker, who portrays the sinister King Herod, says he wasn't surprised he was asked to play a villain in the show.
"I was pretty sure they weren't gonna cast me as Jesus," declares Cooper, whose concerts feature monsters, a guillotine, a giant snake and lots of fake blood. "[T]he Alice Cooper character's always been the villain, so I was pretty sure I was gonna either be Herod or Judas."
Cooper, who actually is a devout Christian, adds about the role, "The Herod part's fun, because it really is the only fairly funny song in the whole show. And it's very condescending." The tune, "King Herod's Song," is part of a vaudeville-inspired scene in which Herod mocks a captive Jesus before he's condemned to death.
John Legend plays Jesus in the production, and Cooper says he thinks the pop/R&B star was perfectly cast because, like the savior, "he has this ethereal quality to him…[a] calmness."
Meanwhile, Cooper says he doesn't feel intimidated about doing a live broadcast of the musical.
"I'm used to working in front of a live audience," explains Alice, who's been a performing musician for about 50 years. "[T]hat's basically what you do in concerts, you're in front of a live audience. So, I think I would feel more awkward if there wasn't a live audience there."
Cooper also has high praise for the songwriting of Webber and Rice, comparing them to Elton John and Bernie Taupin or John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert airs April 1, Easter Sunday, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.