April 1 (UPI) — Sara Bareilles, who will play Mary Magdalene in Sunday’s live staging of Jesus Christ Superstar, says she has been a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 biblical rock opera since she was a child.
“My older sister really loved the show,” Bareilles told UPI during a recent roundtable interview with reporters in New York. “My earliest introduction to it was through the film and I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school, so this was a story I had been beat over the head with and really loved and found fascinating. But I remember just weeping, watching this film, especially during ‘Gethsemane,’ which is may be my favorite song from the show. I’m sure it’s a lot of people’s favorite song from the show and just weeping, watching the film.”
So, what does her family — particularly her Superstar-loving sibling — think about her latest gig?
“They are so excited. THAT sister is flying out to come see this,” she said. “They are so excited and so proud and just so encouraging, but nothing changes at home, you know what I mean? I’m still the baby.”
The 38-year-old “Brave” and “Love Song” singer-songwriter said this experience of interpreting rather than creating material seems natural to her.
“I grew up on musical theater and then, when I got into pop music, it actually felt like a left turn,” she said. “I think I had anticipated as a young girl that I would go into more of a theatrical performance route and then when I moved to New York five years ago, I was looking for a change and looking for a project that was separate and aside from the sort of monotony of making a record and touring a record and coming back and making a record and then I said ‘yes’ to [writing and starring in the Broadway musical] Waitress as sort of an experiment and it has unlocked this whole world and it’s a world that I am pinching myself that I get to do this for a living right now. It’s such a dream come true.”
Featuring John Legend, Alice Cooper, Norm Lewis and Ben Daniels, Jesus Christ Superstar is to air on NBC on Easter Sunday, the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of the martyred messiah.