Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
WAITRESS
Click Here for More Articles on WAITRESS

BWW Flashback: Colleen Ballinger's Journey to WAITRESS on Broadway

Colleen Ballinger is turning in her red sweatpants for a blue apron to make her Broadway debut as Dawn in Waitress.

Ballinger has been open about her goal to make it to Broadway on social media and will have her first chance in a limited run starting tomorrow, August 20 to September 15 alongside Todrick Hall as Ogie and Alison Luff as Jenna. Although it has taken longer than she thought, she kept busy by becoming a social media star and performing as her "Miranda Sings" character.

"Obviously I am so excited to be on Broadway. This has literally been my dream since I could speak," Ballinger said in her YouTube video announcing her casting. "Anytime anyone asks me what my No. 1 dream is, it has always been to be a mom [and] to be a performer, but specifically to be a performer on Broadway."

"Broadway is literally the top of the top and I never thought it would happen for me," she said.


Below is a timeline tracking her journey to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre:

Nov. 21, 1986: Ballinger was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA with two older brothers and a young sister. Her brother Christopher and sister Rachel also create YouTube videos and have gathered large followings online.

Nov. 23, 2006: Her first video, "baby its cold outside... in drag" was uploaded to YouTube on the channel she named after herself, which was created earlier in the year. Along with posting performance videos and skits, she began uploading vlogs and short videos looking into her personal life. She would go on to make videos on a regular basis and gain over 8.5 million subscribers on her main channel and over three million subscribers on her vlogging channel, which was created in 2014.


2008: She graduated from Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian university in California, where she majored in vocal performance. At one student-written production in college, very few audience members attended and the beginnings of her Miranda Sings character were seen while she goofed off onstage and gave what is now her signature 'Miranda' face, a side saddle and half-wink. On Feb. 22, 2008, she uploaded her first video to her Miranda Sings channel, titled "RESPECT." Her character developed as she saw more performers on YouTube looking to become famous despite minimal talent and mimicked their mannerisms. The comments left on her videos inspired her to leave behind the subtle satire and make the character more dramatic.


March 11, 2009: Her first video that took off on the platform, "free voice lessons," was uploaded and reached a large audience who believed Sings was a real person. Throughout the video, Miranda explains she is a voice teacher looking for students and gives a free lesson. She talks about breath control, warming up and the different voices (alto and soprano). One of the most iconic pieces of the video is about vibrato. "There's lots of different ways to get a vibrato. I've seen some people shake the skin on their neck with their fingers. That's not the right way to do it, that hurts your vocal cords," she says. "You can shake your chin or your head or your body, something, shake something and usually it will shake your voice to make a vibrato."


April 29, 2009: Miranda Sings made her first live appearance, which would be followed by a string of more live performances, and eventually, full tours. She is currently on her "Who Wants My Kid" tour and will continue in October 2019.

2009 - 2015: Ballinger continued making videos as both herself and Sings and performed around the world on various tours. She rose to popularity and appeared on television shows including, "Victorious" in 2012, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" in 2014, "The Grace Helbig Show" in 2015 and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" in 2014 and 2016.

July 21, 2015: Her first book, "Selp Helf" was released and became a New York Times bestseller, reaching No. 1in Advice, How To & Miscellaneous in its first week. It remained on the list for 11 weeks and on their "Humor" monthly bestsellers for 11 months. The Simon & Schuster-published book was written in Sings' voice by Colleen and her brother Christopher in a mock-scrapbook form giving advice and how-to guides.

Oct. 14, 2016: Season one of her Netflix original series "Haters Back Off" premiered on the streaming platform and told the story of Sings before she started making videos for YouTube. The eight episodes follow Miranda's mother (Angela Kinsey), uncle turned manager (Steve Little) and sister (Francesca Reale) in Tacoma, WA. Erik Stocklin co-starred as Miranda's best friend and love interest, Patrick. Ballinger and Stocklin married in 2018 and had a son together in December of that year.

Oct. 20, 2017: The second season of "Haters Back Off" began streaming on Netflix. This set of eight episodes follows Miranda continuing search for fame, specifically to make it to Broadway. The show was not picked up for a third season.

July 10, 2018 : Sings' second book, "My Diarrhe" was released and reached No. 8 on the Advice, How To & Miscellaneous list by the New York Times. The book, also published by Simon & Schuster, is a "leaked" diary of Sings' and tells all of her secrets and personal stories.

June 4, 2019: The Netflix original "Miranda Sings Live... You're Welcome" was released on the website. The hour-long comedy special, filmed at the Kennedy Center, opens with Ballinger as herself performing a stand-up act before transforming into Sings during a performance of "Defying Gravity." Sings performs original songs, interacts with the audience, reads hate comments includes a bit where Stocklin reprises his role of Patrick.


June 7, 2019: In a video uploaded to her Colleen Ballinger channel, "I'M GOING TO BE ON BROADWAY!!!," she announced she will be playing Dawn in Waitress. Ballinger explained how she loves the character and the show and shared how she listened to the cast album on repeat while filming season one of "Haters Back Off," specifically the song "When He Sees Me." Throughout the video she encourages her viewers to not give up on their dreams, saying, "I am an adult woman with a child and it's happening for me. It didn't happen for me when I thought it was going to, it didn't happen for me when I lived in New York and I was auditioning and in my early 20s."

Aug. 20, 2019: Ballinger starts her shift at the diner and makes her Broadway debut!

Photo courtesy of Colleen Ballinger's official Facebook page.



Related Articles


From This Author - Abigail Charpentier