Bareilles joins John Legend, who will play Jesus Christ, and Alice Cooper, who will play King Herod, in the live production airing Easter Sunday from the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York City.
“To say I’m excited about this performance is the understatement of the century,” Bareilles said in a statement. “This score and this musical have been a part of me from a very young age and it will be one of the great thrills of my life to sing these iconic songs. It’s incredible to see the beloved medium of musical theatre being embraced by television audiences, and this cast and creative team is extraordinary. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the project!”
The musical, which will be executive produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is about the last few weeks of Jesus Christ's life. The production first hit Broadway in 1971 and was nominated for five Tony Awards. Two years later, a movie adaptation starring Ted Neeley was released and was nominated for an Oscar.
Bareilles is no stranger to the stage, as she is set to return to the starring role of Jenna Hunterson in the Broadway musical, Waitress, for which she wrote the music and lyrics, from Jan. 16 through Feb. 25. She also starred as Ariel in the 2016 live production of The Little Mermaid at the Hollywood Bowl. Bareilles has received a Tony nomination for Best Original Score for Waitress and six GRAMMY nominations.
“We’re overjoyed to have Sara Bareilles play Mary Magdalene and I can guarantee that her interpretation of the standard ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ will become an instant classic,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “I was lucky enough to see Sara in Waitress and she gave as moving and as beautifully sung a performance as I’ve seen on a Broadway stage in a long time.”