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The Month Ahead: Sopranos in Spaaaaace!

Musical theater diva Sarah Brightman gets ready for her next star turn

Author Jacqueline Detwiler


Space Adventures/Rex Features

Space Adventures/Rex Features

According to the laws of human achievement, there are people who go into space and there are people who star in Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, with absolutely no crossover. In the not-too-distant future, however, British soprano Sarah Brightman will break that rule in a very high-profile way.

Brightman, who played the first Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, is the subject of a PBS special this month, “Sarah Brightman: Dreamchaser in Concert,” based on the tour to promote her album of the same name. That album, in turn, was inspired by the rather unusual mission Brightman is set to undertake in 2015: becoming the first recording artist to visit the International Space Station.

“I’ve been interested in making a journey to space since I was a little girl, after seeing the first man walk on the moon,” she says. “The fact that scientists, engineers and astronauts did that—I felt I could do anything.”

The singer has a long history with space travel. She can recall watching the 1969 Moon landing, she says, an event that not only led to her campy 1978 hit “(I Lost My Heart to a) Starship Trooper,” but which gave her the idea that she, too, might like to climb aboard a rocket ship one day. Now, as her launch date approaches, Brightman is starting to see things in a less dream-like way.

“Jumping off a planet is not that easy, in psychological terms,” she says. “You have to be very certain that you really want to do this.”

In spite of her grueling astronaut training regimen, Brightman is continuing to tour, performing pieces from Dreamchaser.

”Sarah Brightman: Dreamchaser In Concert” airs on AUG 3

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Space travel and the arts: “There is so much poetry about the Moon and Mars. A lot of music and photography are also influenced by the stars and everything that has been happening up there.”

Astronaut training: “You are put into situations where you could be claustrophobic, continually sick. The rotating chair test was one of the most challenging. It tests you for how you deal with motion sickness over a long period of time.”

Stargazing: “It calms me down completely, because it’s always there and twinkling at you and suggesting that whatever your smaller problems are, there is a much bigger picture. I always look at the stars when I am feeling a bit vulnerable.”

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MOVIES Ethan Hawke stars in Getaway, the thinking person’s Fast & Furious  // Sean Bean takes to the waves in the fantasy adventure Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters 
TV AMC’s crime drama “Low Winter Sun” blurs the goodie-baddie line // More line-blurring in the final season of AMC’s Breaking Bad 
BOOKS Kathy Reichs provides a gleefully unflinching look into forensic anthropology with Bones of the Lost

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