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Jessie Mueller Talks Sara Bareilles, Pie & WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL

The Tony Award-winning leading lady talks all about WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL!

American Repertory Theater's brand new production of screen-to-stage adaptation WAITRESS just began performances last weekend in its premiere production in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the star of the show, Jessie Mueller, discusses her participation in the production as part of a new interview on Boston's WBUR's HERE & NOW with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson.

Of note, WAITRESS runs now through September 27. Tickets are available here.

Mueller candidly shares of her admiration for WAITRESS composer and lyricist Sara Bareilles, "I'm always daunted, especially because she has a crazy voice. She has no break to her voice, and for people who don't understand that, it just has to do with how the voice transitions from certain registers to other registers ... To me, it seems like she moves seamlessly from one to the next. When she sits down to write, she's writing for her voice. We play around with keys and things like that because she and I, the mechanics are different. But yeah, it's absolutely daunting because I've heard her sing the songs and I know what they can sound like, but also as we rehearse things, some of the pressure is released, or I'm releasing it for myself because it's getting more and more ingrained in the character instead of just, 'How am I singing this Sara Bareilles song?'"

Furthermore, Mueller shares of character in the musical, Jenna, "Jenna has gotten to a point in her life where she's kind of coasted along for a while and she's feeling stagnant and she doesn't know what to do. And I think she just hits a breaking point then and she's like desperate to make a mess. And she kind of does. She just makes one mess, one poor decision right after another. And I think that's something people can relate to. Everybody has these day-to-day challenges and they're just trying to navigate their lives. And some people make better choices than others and some people don't make any choices for a long time, which is sort of what happened to Jenna."

Also, Mueller says of the pie-making that is so integral to the story of the show, "We had this wonderful day of rehearsal - yes we get paid to do this - where we went to a board member's house and were taught how to make pies. Literally that's what we did one day. We were like, this is the best day of rehearsal ever. And she was talking about the idea that pies are healing ... And I think that's what that last little bit of the play does too. You see these two, this woman and her child making a pie and it's literally, not to get all voodoo on it, but it's the beginning of a healing for this woman, for Jenna so she can get her daughter on better footing than she had."

Of note, the A.R.T. production is set to begin previews this August in Cambridge, Massachusetts, directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Chase Brock.

The official description of WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL is as follows: "Jenna, played by Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful), a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must choose between her commitments and her dreams. Her customers, co-workers, and the town's handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness-but Jenna ultimately has to decide for herself. This poignant and uplifting new musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the courage it takes to pluck a long abandoned dream off the shelf. Featuring music and lyrics by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles ("Brave," "Love Song") and directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland)."

More information on WAITRESS: THE MUSICAL is available at the official site here.

Listen to the interview with Jessie Mueller from WBUR below.

Photo Credit: A.R.T.


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