Mary Magdalene may have gone down as one of history’s best-known prostitutes, but don’t for a minute think that Jesus Christ Superstar Live was going to go the expected route and dress her in red.
Though early concept art showed Sara Bareilles sporting a scarlet-ish dress in NBC’s live musical event, costume designer Paul Tazewell tells TVLine that the color she’s wearing in tonight’s live broadcast “is actually more saffron.” And, of course, there’s a reason for that.
“It shows that she ends up being a flame or a beacon for Jesus,” he says simply. “The warmth of her character is reflected in the color I put her in.”
A few weeks before the broadcast, Bareilles told reporters that she expected “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” — Mary’s big song — “to feel like an important moment, [partly] because I’m all by myself on the stage, so it will feel like the starkest moment for me, personally. Also, I know people are so enamored of that song, so I’m just wanting to do the song justice.”
On that front, she won early accolades from co-star Ben Daniels (The Exorcist), who plays Superstar‘s Pontius Pilate. “I came in yesterday and watched Sara singing,” he told TVLine five days before the live show. “I can’t wait to just stand in the wings and listen to it. She’s like a dream.”