Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY

Seth Rudetsky returns to The Wallis June 16, 2023, this time featuring Tony Award- winner Jessie Mueller

By: Jun. 04, 2023
Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY

Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY

Seth Rudetsky returns to The Wallis June 16, 2023, with his evening of insightful theatre trivia, ad libs and great songs this time featuring Tony Award- winner Jessie Mueller. I had the chance to throw out a few queries for the always working Jessie to answer.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Jessie!

What were the circumstances of your very first encounter with the Broadway encyclopedia a.k.a. Seth? In 2016 when you were part of Seth’s cover ‘What the World Needs now’ in response to the horrible Pulse nightclub shootings?

Actually, I think I first met Seth as a guest on his show Seth Speaks. I was doing On A Clear Day at the time, and he invited David Turner and I to be guests on his show.

After collaborating with Seth so many times, do you two have a shorthand in music speak?

Well, Seth is kind of a musical genius, and can play just about anything, most of it from memory! We like to geek out on the same stuff or play around and riff off musical ideas. He’ll sometimes start into a song we’ve done a handful of times with a different style, and I love just rolling with it. We have a sort of push and pull that just kinda works. So ya, I think we really do. It’s what makes it so fun to work together.

Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY When I interviewed Stephanie J. Block on appearing in one of Seth’s Evening With…, she said she needed more rehearsal than for her own concerts to be ready for what Seth threw at her. Do you agree with her?

Ha! I love that Steph said that. You know, for me, there’s an ease with his show. When we first started out, I would be pouring over lyrics, memorizing, prepping, etc. I still do that as we incorporate new material, but I love how organic the shows are. I feel I can just let loose.

What was the most off-the-wall curve ball that Seth has thrown at you so far?

We were actually just doing a show in Provincetown, Massachusetts and somehow it came up that I had always secretly dreamed of playing Christine in Phantom. And what does Seth do next? Starts playing “Think of Me.” From memory! The audience helped me get through it as I was trying to remember what came next! It was hilarious.

Would you take us back to your very first night stepping onto a Broadway stage as Melinda Wells In On A Clear Day You Can See Forever?

Oh gosh, I remember I had this really fun entrance. I came up through a trap in the floor. So I got to ride this little elevator onstage every night and magically appear out of nowhere. I remember the first preview thinking, ‘This will be my first night on a Broadway stage in front of an audience!’ And once I stepped onto the little elevator and the crew cleared me, there was no turning back!

Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY When you performed Julie Jordan in Carousel in 2018 what it easier to learn the show since you did Carrie Pipperidge twice before? Or did you learn it all from scratch like any other new show you were cast in?

I certainly had a familiarity with the material, but my gosh, there was so much I had forgotten! And so much that struck me so differently as I explored the show through the eyes of a very different character. I think it’s the mark of a really amazing show that can be interpreted and reinterpreted time and time again.

As one who’ve graced the stages on both sides of the Atlantic, how do you find any differences in the Drury Lane audience from your Broadway fans? (more reserved, more polite)

I’ve never actually done the West End! I’d love to! (Shameless plug!) But I did get to do a show at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon which was a magical experience. (And yes, the swans are lovely.) I’ve also performed in Japan which was amazing. I think audiences outside of the US are maybe a bit more reserved? But maybe they’re just better behaved than us Americans…

Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY What do you remember of the moment your name was announced as the winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for your performance as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical? Was it all a blur? Did time just stop?

A little of both. I remember being very concerned about the very large skirt of my dress and not wanting to trip over it on live television! Then the vision of Hugh Jackman appeared, and I was on a very large stage looking into the enormous house of Radio City! And it was late, and I probably had to pee and I knew everyone was tired and desperately wanted a drink and to get into their pajama pants. But yes, it was a pretty cool, magical moment.

Tell us about your recent recording release of ‘My Heart Says Go’ with Javier Munoz.

Well, I first got involved over the pandemic. A buddy of mine from Chicago, Matt Hawkins, reached out and said he had this project he was working on written by this ‘wunderkind’ named Jorge River-Herrans. He sent me some early demos and I was really struck by the music. I was so impressed. We did some more demos and then Matt (who is a professor at Notre Dame University) was awarded a grant and decided to do a studio album. He asked me to be a part of it again, and what they’ve created is really exciting. It’s original music with an original story. It’s about family and dreams and how we all relate, or don’t, in some cases, and how that affects the way we move through this world and find our purpose. Jorge is so talented, and if this is just the beginning, I can’t wait to see what he does next!

Interview: JESSIE MUELLER Holds Her Own Against the Quick SETH RUDETSKY Your theatrical resume lists mostly musicals. What made you decide to go solely dramatic in 2020 in Tracy Lett’s The Minutes?

You know, that was a blessing that came my way. Tracy and I share an agent and they reached out to see if I was interested. I read the script and was hooked. I was like, I want to be a part of this. I was energized and terrified by the whole thing. I thought the concept was so compelling. And once I heard more about who was going to be involved, I wanted to be in that room. I loved doing that play. I loved the people even more.

You must be on the shortlist of upcoming Broadway musicals. Is there a role you would love to sink your gorgeous vocal chops into?

Gosh, thanks! Makes me want a pork chop…You know, I am staying open right now. If the right project came along with a compelling story and great people, I’d be down. The meaty, dreamy ones down the road are still Mama Rose, Mame, Mrs. Lovett, things like that.

What’s in the near future for Jessie Mueller?

I just finished working on my first audio book which was super fun! It’s the new novel by Alice Hoffman, called The Invisible Hour (releasing mid-August.) And I’ve been working on a few animation projects that are in development, and another new studio album for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid musical. Some really fun people involved in that; Sutton, Norbert Leo Butz and Kevin Del Aguila. And of course, Seth and his concert series. We’re so excited to be coming to L.A. and can’t wait to see y’all there!

Thank you again, Jessie! I look forward to seeing you spar with Seth at The Wallis.

For tickets to this fun, informative evening June 16, 2023; click on the button below:



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