One Life to Live's Jesse L. Martin to Star in New ABC Pilot

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Jesse L. MartinFormer 'One Life to Live'and 'Law & Order' star, Jesse L. Martin, has just been cast in 'Hallelujah,' a musical drama pilot for ABC. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, which just broke the story, the pilot is a Marc Cherry ('Desperate Housewives') offering and centers around the town of Hallelujah, Tennessee which is in the throes of being torn apart by the forces of good and evil.  "But the town's fortunes change when a mysterious  stranger comes to town, bringing justice, peace and possibly restoring faith," states THR.  Is that mysterous stranger Martin? 

With the current popularity of the musical dramedy and primetime soap opera 'Glee' helping to keep Fox on top in the ratings, it appears that ABC wants to capture some of that musical momentum with 'Hallelujah.'

But as any long time TV viewer knows, musicals in primetime can also be death. Remember Steven Bochco's 'Cop Rock' from 1990 anyone?  Maybe not. It aired like twice. Actually, it aired 11 episodes. Something about breaking out into song as a cop was cuffing a perp just didn't fly over the long haul. Could it have simply been ahead of it's time?  ABC could be betting on just that with 'Hallelujah.' 

But remember.  'Hallelujah' has only gotten a green light as a pilot. It's not picked up as series yet, and may not be if the show's creator and star cannot pull off the pilot to the network's liking.

Additionally, 'Hallelujah' features a church choir that acts as a Greek Chorus of sorts.   According to Wikipedia, "a Greek chorus is an homogenous, non-individualized group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action. It originally consisted of fifty members which were later reduced to twelve by Sophocles, then increased to fifteen members by Euripides in tragedies. There were twenty-four members in comedies. (The Greek Chorus) performs using several techniques, including singing, dancing, narrating, and acting." 

Is Cherry using this technique to help narrate the story of 'Hallelujah?'  If so, it is something that could get pretty annoying in primetime.  If anyone can pull off working with a Greek Chorus, however, it's Jesse L. Martin. 

Martin, who is also a Broadway star of note, creating the role of Tom Collins in 'Rent' and just wrapping 'The Merchant of Venice' with Al Pacino, got his start as the character of Quincy on 'One Life to Live' in 1995.