“I came in as the newbie in a deep way,” confesses Sara Bareilles about her role in “Girls5eva.” For our recent Gold Derby exclusive video interview, she adds, “I haven’t had any TV experience to be honest, outside of performing on television. For me it was about adapting what I had learnt from being involved in musical theatre. It’s trust, it’s listening, it’s responding. It’s this total new medium. But my co-stars across the board were unbelievably kind, generous and patient as I was learning my way.”
In the new Peacock comedy from executive producer Tina Fey, Bareilles stars alongside Renee Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps. The ladies make up a one-hit girl group from the 90s (called ‘Girls5eva’), who are trying to make a career comeback. It combines sharp dialog with absurd musical numbers and fun 90s flashbacks.
Bareilles plays Dawn, the ‘chill’ one of the group, who is juggling her music ambitions and family life. The actress explains, “She tries her best and makes a lot of big mistakes. She wants to take care of the people she loves and she’s learning to find her own voice. I relate to toeing the line of that balance; taking care of yourself and taking care of others. You can get into trouble if you go too far in one direction or the other.”
Bareilles herself has had a successful career in the musical world. Last year she won her first Grammy in the Best American Roots Performance category for “Saint Honesty.” She has also received Tony nominations for scoring “Waitress” and “SpongeBob SqaurePants.” On performing the comedic songs in “Girls5eva,” the star says that “the songs are genius. The music is taken quite seriously. The lyrics are comedic, but the music isn’t a joke at all. Jeff Richmond wrote some amazing pop songs that throwback to this era. It’s like candy for your ears. And on top of that to make really funny lyrics, which creator Meredith Scardino is a part of. That’s really hard to do. Give them a Grammy!”
The singer-songwriter reflects on playing a character that also performs and writes music. “The key for Dawn was the music. That was something that I really grounded into. There was something about Dawn’s connection to the music that allowed her to break free of her life as she knew it and move into a new space. Any artist can relate to creative blockages and it takes some real perseverance and patience in the process. I haven’t hallucinated Dolly Parton (inhabited by Fey), but I think it is something I might try the next time I run into writers block.”
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