Jenna Rubaii of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Bass Concert Hall
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR has been one of the most beloved shows since it was first written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. With the release of the American album in 1970, it became known as the “Brown Album” based on the original cover. It became an instant hit in households all over the United States. The story of Jesus Christ is told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, who would come to betray the man in whom he believed the most. The new North American tour is set to begin in Austin, Texas, October 8-13, 2019. It has been nearly 10 years since an extensive tour and audiences have been anticipating what will be a breathtaking tale of the musical phenomenon. As the cast prepare for opening night in Austin at Bass Concert Hall, BWW met Jenna rubaii who plays Marie.
What first interested you in playing?
My parents always said I sang before I could speak! When I was six, I auditioned for an all-female song and dance group in Tampa, Florida. I ended up performing professionally across the state and country with this band for 12 years of my life! Having the opportunity to give over 50 shows a year at such a young age really sparked my love for the performing arts.
You’ve had a lot of hit shows you’ve been on; Originally from Joelle’s role on Broadway’s “Groundhog Day”, “American Idiot” The International Tour, and “Saturday Night Fever,” what are some of the things that have prepared you for such amazing roles?
Commitment and curiosity for live performance and life experiences. I think it’s important to always stay inspired. When I step out of my own bubble and explore places, meet people and see things that will broaden my artistic mind, I’m even more excited to dive into roles and stories that I tell.
Now you are part of the tour Jesus Christ Superstar play the character of Mary. How did you get the role?
My hearing process for Jesus Christ Superstar was actually one of the longest I’ve ever experienced. I initially joined the creative team in November 2018 … after several work sessions and callbacks over the next 9 months, I got the call from my agent saying I had booked it. This experience has proven that you never know what’s going to happen.
Did you know the famous “Brown Album” from the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar? If you were, what did you think when you auditioned for the role of Mary? If not, did you take the time to listen to the album and learn from it? Does this affect the way you portray Mary?
I have fond memories of my dad playing “The Brown Album” when I was a kid. He is the greatest Jesus Christ Superstar fan! It’s a bit surreal to have the opportunity to sing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” every night. I think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Our brilliant music supervisor, Tom deering, really encouraged me to explore the purity of Mary’s tunes. Honoring the simplicity of the original record allowed me to access more colors, both musically and emotionally throughout the show.
What are the things you are most looking forward to on this tour?
I’m so excited to hear what the audience thinks about this production. I know Jesus Christ Superstar is a beloved show and I can’t wait to share this amazing version with them. I also like to explore new places. I’m a sucker for quirks and curiosities. I am interested in finding unique sites in each city – this is my favorite part of touring.
PHOTO CREDIT: Evan Zimmerman, MurphyMade