When Jesus Christ Superstar debuted on Broadway in 1971, the musical broke at the interface of religion, fame, and politics with its share of conservative pens. Today, 47 years later, Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Tim Rice's "Rock Opera" dramatization of the last days of Jesus Christ is seen as a theatrical guideline whose serene format paves the way for Evita Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables ua
On Sunday Superstar becomes the latest musical to receive the live ABC treatment. This time around, the network will take the show back to its roots and present it as a concert with an all-star cast – including John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene and [ Hamilton & # 39; s Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot ̵
As an artist, what? Addresses You Most Jesus Christ Superstar
Sara Bareilles: The theme is personal to so many people. The score is undeniable – that's something I met as a young girl. Maria Magdalena is a strong and important historical figure, and I love how she is portrayed on the show. She is a feminist icon. It is a privilege to sing these songs, which are among my favorite music theaters.
Brandon Victor Dixon : People have ideas of who these characters are and what they mean in context of their mythology, but this piece really allows us to explore their human characteristics and interactions. We show their emotional colors.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's music is a notorious challenge in the canon of music theater. How are you with the score?
Bareilles: One of the things they did so well with the score is that each song is personal to each character. Maria's songs have a beautiful simplicity and a soulful, folk essence. They are good for my voice. The original keys feel really good, so I just enjoy singing them and of course acting, which is the newest part for me.
Dixon: So far I have tried to focus less on the vocals than on the words. The words in this story are very specific and shape the vocals. I'm excited because it's rock music. I knew it would get me on my higher grades, but I'm not intimidated.
Did Andrew Lloyd Webber advise you?
Bareilles: He was wonderful. He was at one of our rehearsals and he just gave encouragement.
Dixon: He's already nearby. After all this time he is still very busy with the music and the piece. He is aware of how it sounds, how it's shaped, the tempo … He talks about these kinds of things. It's cool to watch him do it.
Do you have a lot of pressure to do this single live performance compared to a concert or Broadway show?
Bareilles: We treat it like any other live performance, so it's about connecting with the people you share the stage with and the audience. I'm glad they made the decision to have a live audience so that we can feel the immediacy of people interacting with the material. Yes, there is pressure, but I will do my best, keep my fingers crossed and jump. That's all I can do.
Dixon: Because of the cameras, your blockade, where you look, the things you make are … more specific than in the theater. I am notorious for doing different things all the time! (laughs) That's the one thing I was aware of – letting the material flow in me, but making sure my physicality stays firm. Do you think the message of superstar has moved or improved over time?
Bareilles: The show is about love, betrayal, friendship and sacrifice. All this, I think, is timeless. It seems to me to be an important time to return to some of these issues in the context of the world at large. I love that our casting is courageous and that we are rethinking the world. It is a reflection of what our world looks like today.
Dixon: We, as a society, are very fixated in our ideas of how things were, how they are and how they should be. I hope that by breaking the mythology embedded in our cultural fabric, we will help people examine how we record these stories and how we allow them to shape our cultures, communities, and lives.
You have the opportunity to introduce the musical to a new generation. What do you hope the Sunday audience gets rid of your imagination?
Dixon: My interpretation of Aaron Burr in Hamilton allowed humans to see the sensibility of him, and I do the same with Judas. The music has borne the heritage of the show. I hope you can accept the words.
Bareilles : Authenticity and Honesty. I've seen so many people coming Waitress [the Tony-nominated Broadway musical for which Bareilles wrote music and lyrics] that have never been to a musical, and they feel like they're in a whole new one World been introduced. I hope people will discover the incredible canon of music theater.