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INTERVIEWS SIERRA REIN OF
LILITH - THE ROCK OPERA
NOT SUCH A BAD GIRL AFTER ALLSIERRA REIN brings something different to ROCKWIRED. While she his not the first performer to be featured on ROCKWIRED to boast a musical theater background, she is the only one who has managed to continue making it her life's work rather than eschewing it for a pop-rock sensibility. In Los Angeles, she has carved out a reputation as a top-notch performer in such productions as BARE: A POP OPERA at the HUDSON THEATER and the critically acclaimed MASTER CLASS at the ODYSSEY THEATER.
SIERRA REIN TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT A LIFE IN MUSICAL THEATER
AND BRINGING LILITH TO LIFE
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
However, it is her vocal performance as LILITH in LILITH -THE ROCK OPERA that has made us take notice at ROCKWIRED. We had an opportunity to speak with SIERRA REIN over the phone on a Sunday afternoon. Here is how it went.
What drew you to the LILITH project?
I auditioned for the part and saw this as a character that I could really get into vocally. I had always heard of LILITH but I had never done any research on her. When I got the music from THOMAS (KUGLER) I really liked the song I LILITH and I wanted to hear more. So I went to the audition and that's how it started. The more I researched LILITH for the part just to get a sense of her point of view, I was drawn to the alternative history as well as the religious history and just went on from there.
So it was an actual audition process that got the whole thing going. I had assumed that you and THOMAS were friends.
News of the audition was posted on nowcasting.com. It was pretty much open to interpretation, because the role required just a voice until they were able to bring it to the stage. But before the audition I had never met THOMAS.
Your background is in musical theater. What got you going in that direction?
I think it started when i was three years old and saw SINGING IN THE RAIN. I had always been and sing and had always been a performer. My parents always drove me to auditions when I was growing up. They weren't stage parents or anything. It was more like "she wants to do this, so we're going to support her." I had been in musical theater and choir practice all through out junior high and did all of the musicals in High School like GYPSY, HELLO DOLLY and EVITA. From there, I attended UCLA's Theater Program and was a part of their Music Theater Workshop where we put on student productions, like in my Junior year, I directed ASSASSINS. I've been in Los Angeles for ten years now and I'm thinking of moving to New York and doing musical theater there.
It's in the works. There are those nitty gritty details you have to deal with first. I love Los Angeles. It's a wonderful place but in terms of musical theater and theater in general, New York is where you need to go and people are always saying " Move to new York. You can do cabaret work there and you can produce your own shows."
I remember telling THOMAS (KUGLER) something like that when I interviewed him. Los Angeles isn't know for any kind of theater-
A lot of production companies actually get started here in Los Angeles.
-and developed in Los Angeles, based on television actors who love doing musical theater, I was in a production of BARE- A POP OPERA. It ran for 6 months at the HUDSON THEATER in Santa Monica. It was huge in LA and it kept getting extended and extended and extended. Eventually it was workshopped into an off-broadway production in New York.
So was LILITH your first rock opera?
BARE was technically a pop opera. It had rock and pop inspirations but not a JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - screaming rock opera. So yeah, LILITH probably is my first rock opera.
Other than I LILITH are there any other moments/performances from LILITH-THE ROCK OPERA that stand out for you.
I really like SATAN's LAMENT. I think it one of those moments where the singer gets into character and gives it more dimension than what is given in religious texts. I like finding the human aspect of every character. What's the point of playing character that the audience is going to relate to if itdoesn't have humanity. In playing LILITH, I was interested in getting inside of her point of view and what she had to say about the world. It's dangerous to assume that just because someone is doing something bad that they are doing it for a horrible reason.I think that the characters LILITH and SATAN offer a different point of view about injustice in the world. I never met the actor who played SATAN (JEFFREY STACKHOUSE)but it was great hearing his voice and his performance come through when I recorded my performance. We didn't record at the same time when we recorded. When I sang into the microphone I had to imagine that I was singing to someone and THOMAS was really great about letting the singers do what they wanted in terms of improvisation.
I had no idea that you and SATAN (JEFFREY STACKHOUSE) weren't in the same studio. It sounds like there was chemistry in your performance.
Sometimes you've got to invent the chemistry and believe it. We didn't meet each other until we did the live performances of LILITH on Sunset Boulevard. It was like "Hi, I'm LILITH" or "Hi, I'm SATAN."
What was it like working with THOMAS KUGLER. Was he always at the console as you were recording. How did that work?
All of the other tracks and the instrumentation had already been recorded by the time I came in to record my performance. He made sure that little things were emphasized like certain phrases and certain notes. He was happy with whom he had chosen for a cast and was open to suggestion. He had a couple of takes to choose from but he's just a really nice laid back guy.
You said earlier that you had done some research on LILITH.
There are so many different versions of LILITH in ancient Sumerian mythology as well as ancient Babylonian mythology. In some stories, she was the benefactress- she helped a village create wheat and showed the people how to survive. I think that a lot of Christianity and Judaism took a lot of characters from Babylonian texts such as LILITH and confiscated it for themselves. In playing LILITH, I wanted to go beyond the judeo-christian spin on her.I wanted to portray her as the goddess that she originally was and not the jealous, nymphomaniacal former wife of ADAM.