‘I am so glad that I stated sure’ : NPR

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Sara Bareilles performs the Baker’s Spouse in Into the Woods. She says the very first thing she did after taking the position was give her character an actual identify: “I named her Rebecca.”

Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman /MurphyMade


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Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman /MurphyMade


Sara Bareilles performs the Baker’s Spouse in Into the Woods. She says the very first thing she did after taking the position was give her character an actual identify: “I named her Rebecca.”

Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman /MurphyMade

When singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles joined a small revival of Into the Woods in 2022, she anticipated it to be a fast dedication. A part of the New York Metropolis Middle’s Encores! sequence, the present was a stripped-down model of the musical with a restricted run.

However the manufacturing, which reimagines acquainted fairy tales, was so well-received, it went on to Broadway — and Bareilles needed to resolve whether or not to proceed in her position of the Baker’s Spouse, or to maneuver ahead with the opposite tasks she had deliberate for the yr. She opted for Broadway.

“What I really like about theater is that each reinvention is an opportunity to search out one thing new, and the brand new solid introduced new sorts of interpretations and coronary heart to the expertise,” she says. “And I am so glad that I stated sure.”

In February, the Broadway solid recording of Into the Woods gained the Grammy for greatest musical theater album. Extra lately, the present obtained six Tony nominations, together with a nod to Bareilles for greatest lead actress in a musical.

Past the accolades, Bareilles says the Broadway revival holds particular significance as the primary Stephen Sondheim manufacturing that is been mounted because the legendary composer and lyricist’s demise in 2021.

“There was … this different layer of reverence, I feel, that went into the making of the present, as a result of it was very tender to make one thing with out [Sondheim],” she says.

Bareilles is not any stranger to Broadway; about 10 years in the past, she signed on to write down the songs for Waitress, a musical adaptation of the 2007 unbiased movie. Although she was already an skilled songwriter — her 2007 hit “Love Music” was nominated for a Grammy — Bareilles remembers being initially daunted by the duty.

“I used to be somewhat bit depressing for the primary two years,” Bareilles says. “After which I fell madly, deeply devotionally in love. [Waitress] is the the love of my creative life. It is modified every thing about me, every thing about my life, my relationships, my profession.”

Bareilles made her Broadway debut in 2017, taking part in the lead in Waitress. In 2021, she started starring in Girls5Eva, a TV comedy a few one-hit-wonder lady pop group from the Nineties attempting for a second likelihood.

Interview Highlights

On what makes Sondheim tough to sing

[Into the Woods] was my first Sondheim present, and the present itself may be very quick paced. The scenes are quick. There’s plenty of repetition. It is a maze. It is this very intricate braiding collectively of fairy story characters. …

The grand intervals are insane. It is like pointillism in vocal efficiency. It is all over and it is quick phrases and actually dense lyrics which have plenty of data. You actually must be in your phrases. For me, it was looking for a stability between form of just like the pop stylings of how I usually sing and one thing that leans somewhat extra legit and somewhat extra musical theater simply to ensure that readability was actually on the forefront. It was actually essential to me to ensure that each phrase of this actually unbelievable rating was tremendous crystal clear.

On the character of the Baker’s Spouse

I gave her a reputation. That was the very first thing I did. I named her Rebecca. I like characters that really feel form of torn between two issues as a result of I feel I at all times relate to that sense of, sure, my life is extraordinary, and I ponder about different issues, too. I feel that it is only a very human situation to be questioning who you’re and the place you’re and why you are there.

I really like her form of fascination with the prince. I feel it is sort of scrumptious and foolish and really childlike. She’s obtained a factor for royalty. She’s like the one who buys the ceramic plates of the royal household. She simply loves him … however she does not actually know why. It is like an unexamined a part of her psyche. After which she will get this opportunity encounter and it is that stunning factor the place she explores and he or she makes a mistake. She screws up. It is a messy scenario and he or she nonetheless has to reconcile with that. So I really like that she’s not tied up in somewhat bow in any respect.

On the distinction between singing a track as a personality versus singing as herself

I feel the most important change is one thing I discovered from doing Waitress — I wrote all the music for that present. So going into the present, I feel my method initially had been because the songwriter and I needed to study [that] a personality does not know what the top of the track is but. A personality’s in it, second, to second, to second. So each thought is a brand new concept and coming from someplace and connected to the thought that had come earlier than.

It is what I really like about appearing really, is it is an actual meditation and staying current the place you’re simply on this second proper now. … It is simply that you simply’re having to observe somebody in actual time go from A to B to C. And as a songwriter, the settlement with the viewers is that everyone knows I wrote it. Everyone knows I do know what’s coming subsequent. It has been ready. However as an actor, it’s a must to form of disappear into the journey and let your character’s discoveries be middle stage.

“I wasn’t actually born with a poker face, so I do not sort of defend my feelings very nicely,” says Bareilles. “Nothing is more durable on me than attempting to faux I am one thing I am not. And so my nervousness is a really true a part of me.” Bareilles is proven above onstage in New York Metropolis in April 2014.

Mike Coppola/Getty Pictures


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Mike Coppola/Getty Pictures


“I wasn’t actually born with a poker face, so I do not sort of defend my feelings very nicely,” says Bareilles. “Nothing is more durable on me than attempting to faux I am one thing I am not. And so my nervousness is a really true a part of me.” Bareilles is proven above onstage in New York Metropolis in April 2014.

Mike Coppola/Getty Pictures

On her preliminary resistance to taking medicine for her nervousness

I used to be scared that I might get form of pulled farther away from myself. My melancholy is an enormous a part of my motivation as a author, seeing unhappiness and desirous to translate and articulate it, or observing a tenderness in some scenario or in an individual. I used to be afraid that [by] being on medicine, that one thing would get subdued, or one thing would get suppressed, or my emotions would simply really feel muted or like there was a blanket over them.

I had all these concepts about what it might really feel wish to be on medicine with out having tried it. … I obtained fortunate. It was my first attempt that I really began to really feel higher. And that isn’t the trail for lots of people. And I do know it may be a extremely irritating and scary time, however … it was mythology to consider that that unhappiness was in some way my supply materials. It is part of it, however when the unhappiness begins to turn into the North Star or, like, the organizing precept, that is out of stability. That is not telling the reality. That is really telling a lie. …

I by no means wished to be on medicine. … After which I actually obtained to, like, the underside of the nicely and could not discover out after the pandemic. I feel the magnitude of the grief and the magnitude of the loss and concern and political discord and disappointment and the way so many issues have been dealt with simply on a big scale after which simply interpersonally, I could not pull up. … [Medication] has been a recreation changer for me. When it comes to high quality of life and capability to carry uncomfortable emotions, it is a significantly better method to stroll via the world.

On satirizing the music trade in Girls5eva and taking part in a popstar

I did not have the boldness then, and I nearly sort of do not have the boldness now. Like, we had a second on set … we have been taking nonetheless images that have been going to go up on a poster of someone’s bed room. And I obtained put on this skimpy black stage put on, like a flashy little black gown, [and] I used to be in tears. I’ve had unbelievable physique dysmorphia my complete life, partially from being teased as a child and being informed I used to be fats and being informed I used to be ugly. And all that stuff nonetheless very a lot lives in my physique and in my thoughts.

And in a means, this present is giving me a chance to possibly heal a few of that, however I nonetheless get overwhelmed with that. … I get to relive that and sort of attempt to heal somewhat little bit of that in myself, the place we get to put on ridiculous issues. And sure, I would cry on set generally. However actually, for those who knew the 4 of us, we’re at all times crying and it is essentially the most scrumptious, superb solid of ladies. We’re very, very shut associates at this level.

Seth Kelley and Susan Nyakundi produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey tailored it for the online.

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