Ariana Grande Returns to Musical Theater Roots With Stunning Performance of 'Still Hurting'
By Meredith B. Kile
Ariana Grande is getting back to her musical theater roots amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The GRAMMY winner performed as part of Jason Robert Brown's virtual SubCulture Artist-in-Residency concert on Monday, singing a stunning rendition of the mournful ballad "Still Hurting" from Brown's musical The Last Five Years.
It's a bit of a blast from the past for Grande, who kicked off her professional career in another of Brown's musicals, 13, back in 2008. (In fact, the singer co-starred in that show with future Victorious co-star Elizabeth Gillies!) The Last Five Years was adapted into a film, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, in 2014.
The concert was free to view, though fans were encouraged to donate what they can to help assist SubCulture staff and musicians curing the unprecedented Broadway shutdown.
"What I have missed and mourned the most over these last extraordinary weeks has been my ability to connect with music - to play and sing with other musicians, and to feel the audience responding," Brown said in a statement about thevirtual concert. "Every month for the past five years, I've been able to do just that at SubCulture, working with the best musicians and singers I know to make music together for a smart, involved and joyful audience in a place that's come to feel like a second home."
"Sitting here watching the news go by, I had to do something, I had to figure out some way to let these notes and words in my head come out and be shared with my collaborators and my audience, and so, here we are. All of us in our homes, making music however and whenever we can, with an amazing team to help pull it all together, and two of the greatest singers on the planet Earth: the patron saint of the SubCulture Residency, Shoshana Bean, and Grammy-winner, icon and total theater nerd Ariana Grande. We've put together a show about what we've lost, what we've discovered and what we're grateful for, and I can't wait to share it with you."
Watch the entire concert below and click here to donate.
True to Brown's word, Grande took to Twitter following the concert to geek out about the experience. "that was so beautiful @MrJasonRBrown," she wrote, "i loved every minute so much ! thank u and @SubCulture_NYC for having me and for doing this. everyone played and sang so beautifully. love u."
"u both sounded f***ing phenomenal @ShoshanaBean @MrJasonRBrown," she added. "i’m still recovering from everything i just watched. thank u for existing and for being human masterclasses in musicality and technique."
that was so beautiful @MrJasonRBrown i loved every minute so much ! thank u and @SubCulture_NYC for having me and for doing this. everyone played and sang so beautifully. love u.
Grande has been doing her part to keep fans entertained during coronavirus shutdowns with content that ranges from heartfelt to hilarious. In addition to the Brown concert, she also took part in the recent Disney Family Singalong-- performing "I Won't Say I'm in Love" from Hercules -- and she and Gillies put on a hilarious performance on Instagram, reenacting scenes from The Waterboy.
Watch that silly Sandler tribute in the video below.