Checking in on the star phone live from the Stubhub Studio at WCBS-FM, Scott Shannon and the crew had the pleasure of speaking with GRAMMY and Tony award nominee — and now Broadway’s newest leading lady, Sara Bareilles.
Sara will make her Broadway acting debut taking over the lead role of ‘Jenna’ from the great Jessie Mueller in the smash hit Waitress. If you’re a theater buff, you’ll remember Jessie won the “best actress in a musical” TONY for playing Carole King in Beautiful.
Sara’s no stranger to the production; she’s been the composer and lyricist for Waitress since it opened back in the spring of 2016. Now, her 10-week run on stage begins March 31st at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.
Speaking with Scott Shannon, Patty Steele and Joe Nolan this morning, Sara filled everyone in on what the show is about and the accolades it’s received since opening; the show has received four Tony nominations, including one for Bareilles’ music and lyrics. The cast recording also earned a GRAMMY nomination for best musical theater album.
“It’s just absolutely thrilling,” Sara said about joining the cast. “I’ve been a musical theater junkie since I was a little girl, so getting to work on this show at all was a dream come true. And then now to be stepping onto the stage right now — my twelve-year-old self is having a hissy-fit!”
On taking over for Tony Award-winning actress and singer Jessie Mueller, Sara says she realizes the size of the shoes she’s about to fill.
“Oh my gosh! Don’t think I don’t have sleepless nights about it, but the nice thing is that we’ve gotten to celebrate Jessie’s work this whole time. I feel like I’ve watched her in awe; I can’t say enough about her dedication and her groundedness, and she brings so much to the role. People are just falling all over themselves for her.”
“Actually, if people are listening that haven’t seen the show and can get there more than once — of course I want you to come and see me — but you should really catch Jessie who is the originator of this role and has done such a beautiful job.”
“So yes, big shoes to fill but I’m going to sort of try to find my own version of our character Jenna, and it’s just such an honor to sing these songs. They’ve been my heart and soul for the last four years, this show has been the centerpiece of my life, and it really feels like I’m coming full circle here.”
As the musical’s composer and lyricist, and also a hugely popular performer in her own right, Sara has been introducing audiences to the work of Waitress at her concerts, performing the song “She Used To Be Mine.”
Although she never intended to take the stage for this production, those performances caused her to become attached to the song and, in the back of her mind, has been hoping this opportunity would present itself.
“And lo and behold, lookie where we are,” Sara laughed. “It’s awesome!”
—Shannon in the Morning/WCBS-FM